Mercedes R-Class

Mercedes claims the R-Class is a new concept, with the lavish comfort of a luxury saloon, the versatility of an estate, the all-weather capability of an SUV and the capacity of an MPV.

R-Class comes in six seats in three rows, four-wheel-drive, a high quality interior with some powerful engines. Six seats usually mean either a people carrier or a SUV, but the R-Class is plainly neither. It’s too low and swoopy and if anything, looks like an upscale version of the recent B-Class. The R-Class is a Grand Sports Tourer, and it is designed to pinch buyers from other brands who like the idea of something rather different. Two bodies, three engines and one transmission form the R-Class range. Firmly pitched at the luxury end of the market, the engine options are decidedly big and powerful. The base model, if there can be such a thing, gets DaimlerChrysler’s new 3.5-litre V6, the common rail unit developing 272bhp, which is said to be good enough for 144mph and acceleration to 60mph in 8.3 seconds.

Topping off the range is the R500 with the expected 5.0-litre V8 and 306bhp, but the diesel is expected to be the most-popular option in Europe. The 320CDI engine, a new unit this year, produces 224bhp and, more significantly, 510Nm of torque. The interior will be the make or break of the R-Class, and first impressions are good. The six seats are all individual and the three-row format allows for astonishing levels of space for everyone. With the second row pushed right back, there’s the feeling that only a Maybach would offer greater legroom. For the R-Class is a very comfortable place to travel, the superb seats getting folding armrests, and noise and ride levels kept suitably subdued. There are independent heating and ventilation controls for those in the middle row and the option of a panoramic glass roof with an area of over a square metre. All the rear seats tip forward for extra luggage capacity.

Peugeot 407

This is Peugeot’s sleek 407 Coupe, due to go on sale later this year. Although it will be powered by a choice of three engines - a 2.2-litre petrol with 160bhp, a 3.0-litre V6 petrol with 211bhp and a 2.7-litre V6 HDI diesel with 205bhp, the upcoming Peugeot’s 407 comes with improvised version of style, power and performance. As per the preliminary details that have just been released by Peugeot, the production version is basically unchanged as

‘Prologue’ concept unveiled at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show. The production version remains unchanged — same aggressive front bumper with ‘cooling’ vanes, same long, graceful two-door body and same tapering tail with rear window ‘buttresses’. An in-house design, Peugeot calls it a ‘large four-seat grand tourer’. Gearboxes are six speed manual or automatic.