- Design language full of agility, excitement and emotionality
A car with a length of around five metres which is able to offer first-class comfort for up to six passengers is very hard to overlook out on the road. Despite its generous dimensions, the Mercedes designers have successfully packaged the new R-Class in such a way that it appears both distinctively sporty and elegant - and therefore exudes agile light-footedness despite its size.
The design concept of the new R-Class is based on wide, sweeping proportions acting together with a long wheelbase and short overhangs. A prominent, arched roof line elegantly connects the A and D-pillars, making for an extended, coupé-like silhouette. The pronounced wedge-shape and muscular shoulders give the car additional dynamism and unmistakably assert its poised, assured character, producing an incomparable synthesis of generous interior space and sporty elegance.
The pronounced arrow-shape at the front of the new R-Class is a prominent feature. With a highly visible central ridge, this divides the bonnet area and continues down the radiator grille and into the centre section of the front bumper. In combination with the rising longitudinal lines it both communicates powerful forward motion and lends a lightweight impression to the front end.
The bonnet rises from the wings like a sculpture and reinforces the muscular presence of the front end. Markedly contoured surfaces, sharply defined edges and scalloped sides soften the basic lines, creating a three-dimensional effect and playing very effectively with light and shade. Flowing from the bonnet surface, the edges harmoniously blend into the A-pillars and combine the front end with the overall vehicle structure. A broad radiator grille dominates the typical Mercedes face of the new R-Class, creating a further sporty touch. It features three horizontal louvres of trapezoidal cross-section which are either painted silver or bear a chrome decorative strip, depending on the design and equipment line. The prominent radiator surround is another feature suggesting power and precision.
The bumper is very deep-drawn and visually lowers the centre of gravity - an effect reinforced by large air intakes in the bumper panelling. On the right and left these have silver frames housing the fog lamps, which resemble turbines and emphasise the width. A wing-like front spoiler defines the front end at the lower edge and gives the Grand Sports Tourer a four-square stance on the road surface. At the same time it reflects another interesting design theme of the R-Class, namely aerodynamics. The line drawn by the lower edge of the front spoiler is continued along the side skirts and extends into the rear end, where it ends in the rear diffuser surround as a counterpart to the front end.
The long, obliquely angled, elliptical headlamps lend this versatile and spacious vehicle its own identity. Arranged longitudinally, they visually shorten the length of the body and blend into the striking lines of the bonnet and wings. Additional side lights arranged inside complete this reinterpretation of the Mercedes look.
The crystal-clear headlamp lenses give a sense of lightness and brilliance, allowing a view of the powerful lighting technology of the new R-Class, which projects its beams onto the road from shining chrome cylinders.
The arched roof line is reminiscent of a coupé
The side view is heavily characterised by the arched roof line, which joins the A and D-pillars in a sweeping curve. It rises from the low line of the front end, long bonnet and swept-back windscreen and ends in the powerfully bulging tailgate. In this way the Mercedes designers have created a dramatically curving silhouette with flowing, coupé-like lines whose sporty elegance impresses despite the size of the car.
This is also assisted by the slight rearward rise of the lines in the flanks: from the front wheel arch to the rear lights, a pronounced shoulderline divides the side as-pect and creates a refractive edge between the concave and convex surfaces of the doors. As this line rises slightly towards the rear, it also accentuates the wedge-shape of the body - and therefore the dynamic and powerful character of the R-Class. At the rear end this line blends directly into the tailgate, emphasising char-acter and forward motion.
The extended window areas and high-gloss black door frames form a continuous surface and reinforce the impression of length. Depending on the design and equipment line, this is further underlined by chrome trim around the entire window area and contrasted by mirrors painted in the vehicle colour. Dynamic length is also suggested by the D-pillar, which tapers at the lower end and is supported at the lowest point of the window line to suggest an urge to leap forward.
Large wings and pronounced wheel arches with continuous chamfers direct the eye to the 17 to 19-inch light-alloy wheels, depending on the line. Their design has strong yet sporty contours, in line with the sporty all-wheel-drive character of the new R-Class. The side skirts are equally striking; they have a pronounced flare and are of aerodynamic design, thereby contributing to good tyre-to-road adhesion. At the same time they form another interesting refractive edge.
The design of the heavily curved rear end also shares the dynamically flowing lines which join the front and sides. The shoulderline rising toward the rear surrounds the rear light clusters and transfers its expressiveness to the tailgate. The rear light clusters appear to grow organically from the shoulder muscle, extend forwards considerably and thereby appear to shorten the body overhang. They feature round sections containing the reversing lights and indicators which form a clever design counterpart to the cylinders of the headlamps.
The design idiom of the exterior is continued in the interior
The power-oriented design idiom of the body's styling, which is mainly based on an interesting contrast between convex and concave surfaces, has also been adopted in the interior by the designers. A harmonious synthesis of high-quality materials finished with the great attention to detail typical of Mercedes ensures a definite atmosphere of wellbeing in the variable interior, which offers up to six occupants an outstanding level of travel comfort.
The upper section of the dashboard extends across the entire width of the car like a central muscle, expressing in visual terms the performance potential of the new R-Class to the driver and passengers. This strong transverse emphasis is taken up again in the sporty four-spoke steering wheel with aluminium inserts in the lower two spokes, and is further emphasised by wood or chrome trim and a two-tone interior colour scheme. While the upper section of the dashboard, the soft armrests on the doors and the seat surfaces are in a dark colour tone, the remaining parts of the interior create an interesting contrast with a lighter shade of the same colour.
The driver's eye falls on a sporty instrument cluster with large, round dials reminiscent of a high-quality chronograph, which are housed in slanted tubular binnacles to prevent reflections and ensure optimal legibility under all lighting conditions. The instruments feature fine chrome surrounds. Between them there is a two-section multifunction display - right in the driver's field of vision.
Hand-finished materials such as wood, leather and aluminium please both the eye and the fingertips. Attention to detail and painstaking precision are to be found everywhere in the luxurious interior of the new R-Class.