2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
The 2010 R-Class may be an SUV, but test drivers say it drives more like a smooth sedan, which is a big plus for this family hauler. The only downside is the base model’s poor fuel economy.
- "The 2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is big and feels it. But its ride quality is comfortable and its high-speed stability is exemplary. Throw in appropriately subdued noise levels and you've got all the ingredients of a world-class long-distance cruiser." -- Edmunds
- "Competent handling that no one could call sporty, seductive Euro ride quality, smooth V-6 powertrains." -- Car and Driver
- "Acts more like a station wagon than an SUV. The steering is impressively linear and accurate, though some drivers may prefer a weightier feel. R-Class corners with impressive grip and balance with no excess body lean. Stopping control is strong." -- Consumer Guide
Acceleration and Power
The base R350 comes with a 3.5-liter 268-horsepower V6 engine, while the R350 BlueTEC comes with a 210-horsepower turbodiesel V6. Both are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Test drivers say that both engines provide plenty of power, but they prefer the more fuel-efficient diesel model. It starts at $1,500 more than the base model, which is a small price to pay for its higher fuel economy.
Fuel economy for the R-Class is a mixed bag. The EPA gives the R350 a rating of 14/19 mpg city/highway, making it one of the least efficient SUVs in its class. On the other hand, the R350 BlueTEC is rated at 18/24 mpg, making it one of the most efficient.
If you want to save money and fuel without buying a diesel, consider the Lincoln MKT. It provides seating for seven, starts at about $7,000 less than the R-Class, and has a much higher 17/23 mpg fuel economy rating.
- "Even the V-6 provides respectable acceleration and passing power -- although with a curb weight between 4,700-4,900 pounds, the V-8 is an attractive alternative, dropping 0-60-mph times from just over eight to just under seven seconds and making hilly terrain and heavy passenger loads less challenging." -- Automobile Magazine
- "We like the new seven-speed automatic. It's smooth enough in its gearchanges, and it skips directly to the ratio it wants at any given time, so there's never a sense of shuttling through a seven-pack of speeds. Your fingers easily reach either of the rocker switches on the backs of the wheel spokes, allowing manual shifting." -- Car and Driver
- "Only non-diesel R350 models have been made available for us to test. They accelerate briskly, but the transmission in one test model periodically suffered jerky gear changes at low speed." -- Consumer Guide
- "As for power, Mercedes used to offer V8 power in the R-Class, but currently there are just two V6s. The clean-diesel V6 is our preferred choice thanks to its superior power and fuel economy." -- Edmunds
Handling and Braking
Most reviewers find that the R-Class handles very well for an SUV. In fact, they say it feels more like a car.
- "Any R-Class is admirably comfortable and rewardingly composed." -- Consumer Guide
- "The suspension has a deliberate, sure-footed feel." -- Car and Driver
- "Despite a 40.7-ft.turning circle and tires that favor comfort over absolute grip, the R-Class maneuvers well and feels exceptionally positive and self-assured through corners." -- Automobile Magazine