Limo Vergnugen: LCT Reviews the Mercedes-Benz R320

Posted on March 30, 2009 by - Also by this author

Page 1 of 2

Every time a luxury green vehicle hits the market, it should remind us that going green does not need to leave us exiled to those Priuses, Insights, and Civics.

Such vehicles contribute to a lingering perception - and fear - among consumers that a green vehicle equals tofu, granola, and sunflower seeds. It doesn't help that some chauffeured transportation companies offer the Prius as a serious livery vehicle.

Well, move aside, Prius, you preening little egglet impostor of a chauffeured car. The Mercedes R320 is ready to sideswipe you off the autobahn of luxury.

I got a chance to feast on the Mercedes R320 last fall, as Mercedes rolled out a livery version for 2009. And it's definitely not roadway trail mix; driving the R320 is more like dining at a Ruth's Chris than some snotty little vegan joint next to a boutique. The R320 not only sunders the earthy stereotype of green vehicles, but it helps pull the reputation of diesel vehicles out of the truck stop as well.

The R320 qualifies as a cross-over SUV - the 21st century term for a station wagon all cross-dressed as a sport utility vehicle. Driving it reaffirms what Germans do so well with vehicles: Provide graceful, understated, sophisticated elegance backed by solid structures and refined precision. The R320 just feels safe and solid, with firm, black leather seats that relax. We may never find such solid simplicity in our baleful, bailout economy, but the R320 can provide it daily.

What makes the R320 so green is its combination of clean diesel engineering and even cleaner BlueTEC emissions technology. Mercedes has refined its emissions technology since releasing the first generation of BlueTEC in 2006. It now provides an additive-based second generation version just in time for some of its 2009 models. That should assuage some of the global warming hysteria that persists despite sub-zero winters.

But greenest of all on the Mercedes R320 is the double-retractable dual sunroofs that open over both the front and rear seats. You can simply pull back the interior roof panels, leaving a glassed-in view of the trees above. Nothing completes the green experience of clean diesel and low emissions more than a roofline view of passing flora and blue sky. For chauffeured clients, the balance of headroom, legroom, and lumbar support makes it easy to lean back and contemplate greener lifestyles.

As can be the case with German automotive engineering, the automakers often master the macro-areas of their vehicles, but then get a bit too micro in their meticulous attention to detail. The R320 has three irritating tics:

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More News

2017 Escalade Still Ballin’ As A Visual Pleaser

Vehicle Review: If you’re the driver or front seat passenger, chances are you won’t want to relinquish your seat any time soon.

Genesis Scores High On Technology

Vehicle Review: The vehicle knocks it out the park with tech and it’s one of the most appealing aspects of this upstart luxury offering.

2017 S90 Sedan Is Big Upgrade For Volvo

Vehicle Review: This will be a must-have for luxury sedan buyers who value safety and comfort above power and overall ride quality.

Grech Minibus Will Sweep Tourists Off Their Feet

Vehicle Pick of the Week: Perfect for group shuttles, this brand new vehicle will pay for itself in no time.

Cadillac Creeps Up On Tesla With Plush Plug-In

The new CT6 hybrid pairs a little electricity with a lot of swank.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (1)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - May 2017 $12.95 Post International LCT Show Issue COVER STORY: * Best Operators of 2017: Their Winning Secrets Revealed * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close