TheMercedes R-class is a luxury six-seat, MPV-ish, 4x4 thing which creates a niche that otherwise doesn’t exist. Mercedes calls it a ‘Sports Tourer’ and the R-class adds another letter to the manufacturer’s lineup. The R-class was launched in India in 2010 but only with a V6 petrol engine and Mercedes has now launched the Sports Tourer with a 3-litre diesel engine. Speaking at the launch Mercedes India Director-Sales & Marketing Debashis Mitra, said, ‘We are sure that the diesel variant of this crossover model will be an attractive proposition for our valuable customers’. The R350 CDI is priced at Rs 58.9 lakh ex-showroom New Delhi and the R-class was first conceived as a MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) and then was sold as a sports cruise before being toned down to a family tourer. It’s essentially a cross between a station wagon, a minivan and an SUV. With the R-class, Mercedes is aiming to create a wholly new motoring experience which is new to the Indian buyer.
Depending on how you see it, a crossover can seem to be either practical or just another attempt to make life more complicated. Practical because a crossover aims to combine the dynamic ability of a car and the versatility of a utility vehicle. Complicated because while a crossover brings something new to the table, it also brings an unnecessary dilemma as a crossover has yet to achieve the perfect synergy between dynamic ability and utility. The Mercedes R-Class, the first luxury crossover in India, is one such vehicle which aims to create a new niche segment in the luxury bracket and attract the buyer looking for his vehicle to be both practical and dynamic. With prices starting from Rs60,50,000 ex-showroom New Delhi, does the R-Class tick the boxes of both a car and a utility vehicle?