The idea of blending a three-row SUV and a minivan into a luxury model like the Mercedes-Benz R-Class still seems wonderfully absurd, particularly when you consider that there was an AMG version of that German people-mover. Apparently, though, one of the brand's execs doesn't believe the concept behind the R-Class is all that bizarre. In fact, he thinks it could be time to try again.
Wolf-Dieter Kurz, Mercedes' vice president in charge of SUVs and sports cars, believes that crossovers could be a major driver of product variants in the future due to their popularity. There are a lot of design possibilities to explore in the segment, in his opinion.
"There was already one that we had in the portfolio – maybe we were too early – which was the R-Class, which we are still selling in China. It's doing good, with 12,000 to 14,000 units per year," Kurz said during the launch of the GLE and GLE Coupe, according to CarAdvice. Under a recent deal, the quirky model is made by AM General and exported out of the US.
Kurz even suggested the exact niche that the new model might fill. "So let's say these more, let's say, on-road based but still very roomy, but not station wagon, is definitely an interesting segment also in the future," he said, according to CarAdvice. That almost sounds like a blend of wagon and SUV in a move not too dissimilar from the current Subaru Outback or the old R-Class.
One hurdle for any future model reviving the concept of the R-Class is that the company is already bursting with CUVs. Every size is practically already filled with the GLA, GLC, GLE, and forthcoming GLS, plus Coupe variants for some of them.