July 1, 2005

The Mercedes R-Class: Because minivans make you sad

mb_r_class.jpg

I don't know what's more surprising in the "docufilms" Mercedes produced to introduce the new R-Class GST (Grand Sports Tourer): seeing skater/shill Tony Hawk talk about what kind of car he'd be ("not a clunky SUV"), or hearing the Mercedes designers proudly and repeatedly describe the car using the worst slam we had as kids for our dad's Buick Park Avenue: "a living room on wheels."

And even though they show fleeting images of a stroller (a Peg Perego, I think), and a guy puts down the two rows of rear seats to load his racing bike in, and even though a German-accented engineer babbles on and on about how big the cupholders are, and even though Chrysler invented them, make no mistake: the GST couldn't be more different from a minivan, no. "It's not a minivan," says MB's Dr. Stephan Manger, "no, people will be happy when they drive this car."

Oh, I'm happy, Doktor. Not as happy as I'd be to see the B-Class in the US, but hey. The R-Class may be a living room on wheels, but with its all-glass roof, at least it's a modernist living room on wheels. But I have a nagging suspicion the R-Class isn't a minivan the way the Time Warner Center isn't a mall. Good luck, mein freunden.


Mercedes Benz R-Class Microsite
[mbusa.com, via Jalopnik, who says, "the Chrysler Pacifica, with more pretense." Ouch. Somebody get me a doctor!]
Previously: B-Class only makes it as far as Canada

4 Comments

Nice analogy, Greg. I was going to say that you can put lipstick on a pig...but it's still a pig. The Mercedes R-Class? It's a minivan. A fast minivan...but a minivan nonetheless.

Hope you and the family have a great 4th!

I kept telling myself that I would never drive a mini-van! But I also said never say never. This is one mini-van that I wouldn't mind owning. Of course, we'd wait for the 2007 model...

looks like a Chrysler Pacifica to me. Yuck.

I loved my inlaws mL430 before they sold it, and if this is Mercedes gearing up for the people wanting a more respected minivan, bring it on, but make it affordable: $40-50K is crazy for something that will be thrown up in, and have all the crumb crunchers dropping food, and spilling pepsi all thru it, not to mention the door dings and bumps it will have to endure. Resale is not a factor for minivans, and this is no exception. Minivans get run into the ground and sold for scrap where I'm from.

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