Sunday, June 30, 2013

15k: V8 Streamliner: 2006 Mercedes-Benz R500 4Matic

In 2006 the juggernaut from Stuttgart invaded yet another market segment with an innovative automobile, this time a luxury minivan.  Pundits said it was a mistake and no one would buy one...and they were right.  Mercedes ended production in 2011 after a total of 50,000 were sold in the US market, about one-fifth of internal Benz projections.  There was even a sweet 502 horsepower R63 AMG version available in 2007 that was discontinued before the end of the year, but they only sold 84 in the USA and still sell for around $40k (or so we assume from the only two we could find nationwide anywhere here and here via autotrader.)  Sticking with our theme of cheap-speed, we think the R500 is a better deal today as it only gives up 200 horsepower and is about 1/3 the price.  Find this 2006 Mercedes-Benz R500 4Matic for sale in Staten Island, NY currently bidding for $11,600 reserve-not-met or buy-it-now $16,900 via ebay.

The Mercedes-Benz R-Class isn't a minivan with sliding side doors, and Mercedes called it a Sports Cruiser and Family Tourer but it fits the minivan bill with 5, 6 or 7 passenger versions available.  This R500 was expensive when new with MSRP starting at $55k, and for that you got a big Mercedes version of a minivan.

The R500 is powered by a 5.0 liter dual-overhead-cam V8 that puts 302 horsepower and 339 ft-lbs of torque into a 7-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission and MBZ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.  The 4900 lb heavyweight is able to go from 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds, not bad for a family hauler.

Not everything will be fun and games with the R500 as the maintenance bills can be more than the cost of a few semesters at your local private school.  The R500 will also be about as much fun in the turns as the Matterhorn at Disneyland, which if you've ridden recently is bumpy, rickety and not that much fun. 

See a better family hauler? email us here:


  1. According to Wiki, as of Jan 2013. R series is still sold outside North America. While also selling poorly in Europe, German press reports that it has sold relatively better in China.

  2. ~ looks to me like a viable replacement for the Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo Griswald Family Truckster. moving up-market, of course.

  3. Love our R350, drives amazing and more rear leg toom than S-Class, a true long distance tourer,

  4. So much car for the money!!

  5. I totally forgot about these. Better than an x5?

    1. Both are bad on the maintenance/repair...who needs the troubles? The best part is the looks and the rear legroom, other than that it is cheap plastics etc. In my experience the Lexus RX series are far better in quality and reliability and resale. Miles better actually....Mercedes is just overpriced troubles.

  6. ha, was just about to send in a tip on one of these and i thought, nah, they won't go for it - i recall reading an article when they came out that said "this is the real car of the future" or something similar, but google was no help tracking it down - i guess the future came and went - gotta wonder, what's the car of the future now?

  7. I never thought I'd see a Chrysler Pacifica on here. These are nice driving if you're looking for a minivan, I guess.

    1. i'd always assumed these were badge engineering twins - however, a little poking around reveals they mainly shared a concept and not much more - here's about the most concise explanation i could find (lifted from an forum post):

      The Pacifica and the R Series both came out of Mercedes ownership of Chrysler. The Pacifica came first on a Chrysler unibody chassis using a Chrysler 3.5L V6 and a Chrysler 4 speed automatic (probably the weakest element of the car). The only really Mercedes mechanical design element was the rear multilink suspension borrowed from the E-Class. The Pacifica is basically a front drive platform with a transverse mounted engine and transmission. Its AWD system uses a cheaper viscous center coupling.

      Then came the R Series with some of the design team from the Pacifica transitioning onto the R Series design team to produce a conceptual clone of the Pacifica using the Mercedes M-Class unibody chassis and off the shelf V6 and V8 Mercedes engines along with their new 7 speed automatic. The engine and transmission use a traditional rear drive longitudinal orientation and the AWD system uses a center differential, open I believe.

      most commenters seem to say there's no comparison in terms of driving, with the R far superior and the pacifica basically a sloppy old-school minivan, but that the interior of the R is considered way below mercedes standards and a real disappointment

      then again, i remember when the dodge journey replaced the pacifica and used a super-cheapo plastic interior that got terrible reviews compared to the pacifica - they upgraded the interior after a couple of seasons, and i found it reasonably ok when i rented one recently


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