Press Kit: The new Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Oct 24, 2005
Interior and comfort: A moving experience of inner freedom
  • Generous levels of spaciousness and first-class comfort for six passengers
  • Benchmark figures for seat spacing, headroom and shoulder room
  • Luggage capacity of up to 2385 litres
  • THERMATIC as standard, multi-zone THERMOTRONIC as on option
  • DVD entertainment system for passengers in the rear
Modern-minded people want plenty of space, effortless motoring, an extremely high degree of flexibility and the ability to use it whenever they feel like it - and the Grand Sports Tourer comes closer than any other vehicle to offering them exactly what they are looking for. But the R-Class has even more to offer in the interior. Anyone seated in one of the luxurious individual seats is immediately treated to a memorable experience: an untrammelled experience of "space travel" on wheels.
This new standard in travel does not just stem from the "XXL" dimensions of the interior. The R-Class offers far more besides, courtesy of a harmonious blend of factors that produce an uplifting sense of wellbeing: the smooth-running V6 or V8 engines, the flawless climate control, the pleasant acoustics, the air-sprung chassis, the appealing colour scheme, the high-grade materials - just a few of the features which combine to make travelling aboard the R-Class an unforgettable experience.
The challenge faced by engineers at Mercedes as they strove to create a vehicle concept that genuinely broke new ground started as early as the dimensional concept stage. The overriding question here was "How much car do six passengers need to enjoy Mercedes-class travel?". The answer was a car with a two-box design measuring 4922 and 5157 millimetres from front to rear. This makes the R-Class akin to a luxury saloon in size but considerably more spacious inside. All of which maximises freedom of movement, at the same time forming a linchpin of the vehicle's supreme long-distance comfort. Several of the interior measurements simply speak for themselves. The seat spacing, one of the key indicators of freedom of movement and interior comfort, measures 860 or 920 millimetres between the first and second rows of seats in the standard position, a figure that is normally only associated with luxury saloons. The kneeroom is 119 or 175 millimetres, while the maximum seat spacing between the second and third rows of seats is 780 or 840 millimetres.
Headroom is another discipline in which the Grand Sports Tourer excels, with 1014 or 1027 millimetres available in the second row and 935 or 946 millimetres in the rearmost row of seats. The width measurements inside the R-Class also open up a whole new dimension in space and comfort, with the elbow width of up to 1550 millimetres in the front and 1562 millimetres in the rear eclipsing the figures for other luxury saloons by as much as 100 millimetres, representing a formidable result for the new vehicle concept.
Versatility is also high on the new model's list of specialities: the individual seats in each of the rear rows can be folded flat separately as required, while the optional centre console can be removed completely, all in just a few simple steps. Thus equipped, the interior is able to mould itself to changing space requirements or to the transportation task in hand, making light work of carrying mountain bikes, skis, snowboards or any other recreational equipment items, for example. Even with a full contingent of six passengers on board, the R-Class still has enough space for a large golf bag behind the third row of seats.
With the rear seats folded down, the level load surface extends over a distance of 1980 or 2217 millimetres measured from the front seat backrests to the tailgate. The vehicle's load capacity as measured using the VDA method also comfortably outstrips the figures for large estate cars, with a maximum of 1950 or 2385 litres when loaded up to roof height (in accordance with the VDA measuring method). Folding down just the third row of seats produces a luggage compartment with a maximum capacity of 888 or 1067 litres.
The major interior and load compartment dimensions of the R-Class at a glance:
short wheelbase

long wheelbase

Seat spacing
between 1st and 2nd row



Seat spacing
Between 2nd and 3rd row



1st row
2nd row
3rd row



Elbow room
1st row
2nd row 
3rd row



1st row
2nd row
3rd row



Maximum load capacity*

1950 l

2385 l

Figures in millimetres. *Acc. to VDA measuring method
The seats can be rearranged to suit the current transportation task in just a few quick steps:
  • The head restraints in the second row of seats are first pulled out and placed on the seat cushions. Then, the backrests are tilted forwards and the entire seat unit is pushed downwards.
  • In the case of the third row of seats, the seat cushions are first raised to a vertical position, allowing the backrests to be folded forwards. The seat cushions can then be folded further forwards into a horizontal position. It is therefore the reverse faces of the two rear rows of seats which together form the level load compartment floor.
  • The driver's and front passenger seats both feature power controls for adjusting the height, seat cushion inclination and backrest angle. Their fore/ aft adjustment range is 294 millimetres, allowing drivers of all statures to make themselves completely comfortable. The standard-fit facility for adjusting the steering wheel's height and reach serves to make doubly sure that all drivers are able to find the sitting position that is best suited to them. The individual seats in the second row can also be manually repositioned fore and aft through a range of 150 millimetres, while the seats' EASY-ENTRY function makes it simpler for passengers in the rearmost row of seats to get into and out of the vehicle.
    Anyone looking to customise seating comfort yet further is able to select from the following Mercedes-Benz optional extras ...
    • Electrically adjustable front seats with memory function for storing the seat, head restraint, exterior mirror and steering wheel settings;
  • Electrically adjustable sports seats with raised backrest bolster cushions and Alcantara/ARTICO Leather upholstery for both driver and front passenger;
  • Multicontour seats with inflatable air cushions for both driver and front passenger.
  • Forms, materials and ergonomics form a harmonious whole
    It is not only the seating comfort in the R-Class that makes it such a pleasure to travel in, a host of further characteristics play a contributory role too, notably its aesthetic, tactile and ergonomic qualities.
    The powerful design idiom of the body's exterior, which stems predominantly from the striking contrast between its convex and concave-shaped surfaces, continues through into the interior of the vehicle. The top section of the dashboard cuts a muscular line from one side of the vehicle right through to the other, signalling power and performance capability as it does so. The two-tone interior colour scheme lends further emphasis to the pronounced crossways effect: the dark tone used for the dashboard, armrest and door panels forms an appealing contrast with the lighter tone variant sported by the remaining interior components. The tactile qualities are every bit as impressive too, thanks to the use of high-grade materials such as the fine leather on the armrests, the soft plastic surface of the dashboard, the aluminium or fine-wood trim and the switches in the centre console, whose faces gleam with a special "soft-touch" coating that has a particularly pleasant feel.
    One of the most eye-catching features is the instrument cluster, whose large, round dials protrude from circular cylinders that are angled slightly inwards, while the black faces are a nostalgic touch that recalls the design of classic, high-precision chronographs. The left-hand cylinder houses the speedometer and clock, whilst the cylinder on the right keeps the driver informed of rev speed and fuel level. The various red and yellow indicator lamps that are distributed over the surface of the two dials only ever make their presence known when the engine is started or they are prompted to light up.
    Nestling in-between the two dials is a split central display, showing the distance travelled at the top and the current drive mode, selector lever position and outside temperature at the bottom. At the press of a thumb, the buttons in the standard-fit multifunction steering wheel give drivers control over the stereo system and car phone, as well as allowing them to call up important information, which again appears in the instrument cluster's central display. This also provides a convenient means of programming individual settings, covering everything from the digital km/h display and activation of the automatic central locking to setting the speed limit for winter tyres. Once these settings have been made, they remain permanently activated and require no further intervention on the part of the driver.
    The Mercedes engineers have made the interior door trim an integral part of the operating concept, too, incorporating into it the controls for the standard-specification power windows, the exterior mirror adjustment and the remote tail-gate release (driver's door).
    The units and controls in the centre console are arranged in accordance with ergonomic principles, with the relative importance of the functions, the frequency with which they are used and visual considerations taking priority. Consequently, the car stereo system or navigation system, depending on the model's specification, is located in the topmost position, where it is both prominent and within easy reach of the driver. Below this can be found the control panel for either the THERMATIC automatic climate control system that is fitted as standard or for the optional multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system, with both units featuring ergonomic, attractively styled rotary controls for manually adjusting the temperature (right). Rounding off the centre console at the bottom is an array of buttons for controlling various functions.
    Dispensing with a conventional automatic transmission selector lever in favour of the brand new DIRECT SELECT gearshift on the steering column has made way for a roomy stowage compartment and a cup holder in the transmission tunnel covering of the R-Class. Both are concealed beneath covers which gently open when light pressure is applied. The padded armrest between the front seats also conceals a spacious stowage compartment, with a special section at the top where a mobile phone can be installed. The back of the transmission tunnel covering features two individually adjustable air outlets for the rear compartment.
    Audio 20 car radio system with CD player fitted as standard
    The Grand Sports Tourer rolls off the production line equipped with the Audio 20 stereo system as standard, ensuring excellent in-car entertainment and pure musical listening pleasure. It features an FM/MW/LW/SW tuner combined with an integral CD player. The unit also boasts a keypad which can be used to enter phone numbers when it is networked with a car phone or mobile phone.
    There is a choice of two optional combined tuner and navigation systems for the new R-Class:
    • The Audio 50 APS unit comprises a twin FM tuner, CD player, TFT colour display and arrow-directed navigation. The integrated CD player can continue to play audio CDs whilst navigation is in progress. All other radio and control functions are identical to the Audio 20 unit.
  • The hallmark feature of the COMAND APS system is its large 6.5" colour display featuring state-of-the-art TFT technology. A full-colour map assists with route guidance. Once the route has been computed, the navigation DVD can be removed to allow audio CDs to be played, in which case the navigation system will issue its instructions in the form of arrows. Radio reception is taken care of by a twin FM RDS tuner which is also able to receive LW, MW and SW stations.
  • All of the Mercedes car radio systems include a speed-sensitive volume control: above a speed of around 20 km/h, the volume is raised in increments to compensate for the increase in background noise. An antenna diversity function, which ensures optimum reception by selecting the strongest signal from the roof aerial and the two FM aerials in the rear window, also makes up part of the standard package.
    Sound system and DVD system for superlative in-car entertainment
    The Mercedes car stereo systems channel their output through a total of eight speakers as standard. An even more sophisticated set-up is available in the form of a surround sound system boasting eleven speakers in all, plus an extra sub-woofer. The system has been custom-designed to suit the interior's acoustics: a microphone monitors current noise levels, enabling a microcomputer to adapt the volume and sound accordingly to ensure uninterrupted high-fidelity listening. A six-disc, MP3-compatible CD changer which is housed in the glove compartment may also be specified as an option in conjunction with the Audio 20, Audio 50 APS and COMAND APS systems.
    A further equipment option allows passengers in the rear to enjoy the freedom of compiling their own audio or video entertainment programme. The Rear-Seat Entertainment package comprises two colour screens with earphone connections which are incorporated into the backs of the front-seat head restraints, along with a CD/DVD player which is accommodated in the rear centre console. There is also a facility for connecting external audio/video devices or a games console.
    Choice of two sensor-regulated air conditioning systems
    Climate control for such a spacious interior as that in the R-Class is reliant on powerful technology. Mercedes engineers have devised two different systems which are designed to offer supreme passenger comfort:
    • In standard specification, the R-Class comes equipped with the THERMATIC system that provides dual-zone interior climate control.
  • Customers may also opt for the multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system which permits individual temperature settings to be made for three separate zones: for the driver's side, for the front passenger side and for the passengers in the second row of seats in the rear.
  • The multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system can in turn be expanded by the addition of a rear air conditioning unit for the third row of seats. This unit is concealed in the rear behind the left-hand sidewall panelling.
    Both systems have been adapted to take account of the generous interior dimensions of the new R-Class, resulting in exemplary efficiency. They are equally as capable of cooling down the interior quickly on hot summer days as they are of keeping passengers snug and warm in the depths of winter. The automatic climate control's maximum heating capacity, for example, as measured in accordance with test specifications in ambient air that has been cooled down to minus 20 degrees Celsius and at a coolant temperature of 80 degrees Celsius, is ten kilowatts. To put this figure in perspective, it roughly equates to the capacity of a modern central heating system in a detached house.
    On the R 320 CDI diesel-powered model, the effect of the heater core is boosted at low outside temperatures by an electrical PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heating element with a heating capacity of 1.7 kilowatts. The PTC's additional heating power is required as a result of the six-cylinder CDI engine's outstanding thermal efficiency, which has an extremely positive impact on fuel consumption but results in far less heat being dissipated to the coolant at partial throttle than is the case with many other engines.
    Sensors regulate operation of the THERMATIC automatic climate control system to take account of temperature changes and levels of direct sunlight. The system is controlled by a network of nine sensors in all: seven outflow pickups in the air outlets monitor the temperature of the air as it enters the interior, one sensor in the control panel records the interior temperature and a solar sensor on the dashboard relays data on the intensity of the sunlight and its angle of incidence. This provides all the information that is required to compare the passengers' desired settings with the actual readings and adjust climate control accordingly. This means that in automatic mode, the temperature, blower speed and air distribution are permanently regulated in such a way that the temperatures set by the driver and front passenger are faithfully maintained once they have been reached. At high ambient temperatures, for example, the automatic climate control is also capable of varying the proportion of recirculated air: this has the dual effect of cooling down the passenger compartment more rapidly and of minimising the required cooling output.
    To keep THERMATIC running as economically as possible by adapting its operation to current requirements, the powerful air conditioning compressor is able to adjust its output smoothly. This is done by means of a solenoid valve which varies the compressor's swept volume.
    The driver and front passenger are each able to select their preferred temperature using stylish rotary controls. Red LEDs indicate the temperature settings. The right-hand control also includes buttons for activating the rear compartment ventilation and residual engine heat utilisation functions. In the centre of the panel between the two temperature controls can be found buttons for manually setting the blower speed, switching on the defrost function, the heated rear windscreen and air recirculation mode, as well as for altering the air distribution settings.
    Passengers seated in the second row benefit from their own control panel. Located on the rear of the transmission tunnel, it allows air distribution to be adjusted individually for each of the second-row seats.
    Multi-zone THERMOTRONIC with booster blower for the rear
    The optional multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system offers an even higher standard of climate comfort, which is especially of benefit to passengers in the rear. To achieve this, Mercedes-Benz devised the principle of three-zone climate control, whereby the occupants in the second row of seats are able to select their own temperature, airflow and air distribution settings independently of the driver and front passenger. This is all made possible by the inclusion of an auxiliary booster blower in the transmission tunnel covering, which permits virtually autonomous control over the airflow in the rear.
    A team of eleven sensors keep the multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system's microcomputer fed with up-to-the-minute readings: the seven outflow temperature pickups in the air outlets, the central temperature sensor in the control panel and the solar sensor are joined by a dew-point sensor whose air humidity readings are also used to automatically regulate climate control. Finally, the multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system in the new R-Class also comes equipped with a pollutant sensor which monitors levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides in the outside air. If the concentration of pollutants becomes too high, the air conditioning automatically switches over into air recirculation mode. In the system's fresh air mode, an activated charcoal filter works to absorb pollutants and reduce the intensity of any unpleasant odours penetrating the passenger compartment.
    LEDs in the stylish rotary controls on the front of the multi-zone THERMOTRONIC control panel keep the driver and front passenger informed of the current temperature settings. The "Mono" button in the left-hand control enables the settings for both the driver's and front passenger side, as well as for the rear, to be synchronised and temperature selection to be controlled centrally using the left-hand rotary control. If the R-Class leaves the production line equipped with multi-zone THERMOTRONIC, the interior linings of the B-pillars are also fitted with movable air vents directed to the rear.
    Your Media Contact
    Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Series, Test Vehicles Management, Sports Communications
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    Fax: +49 711 17-91602
    Model Series ML-, G-, GL-, GLK-, R-Class
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