Sales figures for the R-Class haven’t managed to live up to the expectations of the German luxury brand, but Mercedes-Benz is determined not to completely write-off its ‘Grand Sport Tourer’ just yet. The R-Class received a mild facelift in 2007 to help turn around flagging sales, but a second and more extensive update is in fact planned for the 2011 model year as previewed by these latest spy shots of a prototype caught testing in Europe.
The first facelift came less than two years after the vehicle was unveiled at 2005’s New York Auto Show and was implemented mainly to increase the car’s desirability. A cheaper rear-wheel drive model was added to the lineup as well as a more flexible seven-seater model, but other than that the R-Class has remained mostly unchanged.
For the next update Mercedes-Benz will give the car a major styling overhaul with a new front-end planned as well as a slightly revised rear and interior. Expected to be launched in the second half of the year, the new R-Class appears to receive the same squared-off treatment as seen on the A- and B-Class models sold overseas, including angular headlights and a larger more prominent grille.
At the rear there appear to be only minor changes, with a redesigned bumper, exhaust tips and LED tail-lamps.
Expect to see the 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class facelift make its world debut at the 2010 New York Auto Show in April.