2012 Mercedes R350 BlueTEC Diesel People Mover: Review Roundup

2012 mercedes r350 diesel
photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz USA

Shopping for a 2012 clean diesel car and thinking about the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTEC crossover diesel? Here’s a summary of major reviews of the vehicle to help you decide. Be sure to leave a comment at the bottom if you have questions, or something to add!

It is the diesel turbo engine of the Mercedes R350 that excites consumers. The 3.0 liter turbodiesel V6 engine generates 210 horsepower and the vehicle has a maximum towing capacity of 3500 lbs. It gets 18 MPG city and 23 MPG highway. MSRP is $53,840.

Kelly Blue Book — 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Review

Kelley Blue Book starts out with a comment on the design of the vehicle:  “It’s definitely not a minivan nor is it really a crossover (even though that’s what Mercedes-Benz calls it). Rather, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class has staked its territory as a no-nonsense rolling monument to practicality.” They like the diesel engine, noting: “the 2012 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTEC is quick enough to keep you from lamenting the diesel engine…. This great engine proves the viability of the right diesel in the right machine.”

They write that it was a “joy to see second row seats with such comfort and adjustability.” Moreover, they called the interior and its amenities “top notch.”  “The cabin is spacious, as are the second- and third-row seats. Rear-seat passengers have seat adjustments, cup holders and an optional dual-screen DVD player. Elegant wood trim along with the well-integrated monitor of the COMMAND system goes a long way toward keeping Mom and Dad sane.”

They note that some may not like the appearance of the angular hatch of the vehicle, but that the benefit of easy loading and unloading may outweigh any concerns.

AOL Autos — Mercedes-Benz R-Class Expert Review

AOL Autos also like the roominess of the interior: “The cabin is still a comfortable place to spend a road trip no matter where you’re sitting. Mercedes-Benz is particularly proud of the fact that the vehicle’s third row is actually functional, and it’s true that full-grown adults who are less than five-foot-eleven can fit in the way back seats without suffering a cramped neck or bruised knees.” However, they weren’t crazy about the position of the navigation screen, saying it was too low, and the position of the cruise control lever, which they called awkward.

They call the diesel engine “quiet” and praise its power: “In diesel dress, the epic 400 lb-ft of torque makes up for any horsepower shortcoming, and the crossover easily builds speed as a result.” As far as handling goes, they were disappointed in the vehicle’s steering, but said the braking was excellent.

Car and Driver — 2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTec

Car and Driver noted, “The diesel’s fuel-economy ratings of 18 mpg city and 24 highway easily trump the gas V-6’s 14 and 19. We achieved a respectable 20 mpg in the BlueTec.”

They also pointed out that the R350 BlueTEC includes the “old-style” Mercedes steering and added that the steering is “heavily weighted with a large on-center dead spot. It’s relaxing, and we appreciate the dead spot because of the tremendous amount of body roll that accompanies steering inputs. That said, the R350 BlueTec did manage to improve on the R500’s skidpad performance, from 0.75 g to 0.80. Braking from 70 mph takes 177 feet—pretty good for a six-seater—but pedal feel is noticeably absent.” They complained about the noise from the suspension and that the chassis sent “tremors through the interior.”

C&D concluded: “No doubt, the R350’s configuration endows it with great ability to move people and gear. But the unruly ride strips the diesel R-class of what should be its greatest asset: the ability to do so in supreme comfort.”

Road & Track —  2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 Bluetec 4Matic and R350 4Matic – Driving Impressions

Road & Track calls the R350 a “capable people hauler.” Like the other reviewers, they liked the roomy interior and the diesel engine’s efficient power. But they were not too pleased with the steering:  “I was disappointed in the lackluster low-speed steering feel. It was heavy, which in and of itself isn’t bad. But in hairpins, at residential speeds, the steering wouldn’t come back to center. It was as if the front wheels had no self-centering force. Although this is a minor quibble, especially considering the R’s pedestrian role, it’s one that needs to be mentioned.

2012 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTEC Clean Diesel Crossover Review Summary

In conclusion, the consensus appears to be:


  • Comfortable seating
  • BlueTEC diesel engine
  • Comfortable and adjustable second row seats
  • Top-notch interior


  • Angular hatch appearance
  • Position of navigation screen
  • Steering
  • Ride

Do you own this car, or have you driven one? What’s your take?

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