The significance of the 2011 R350 is that it's the first major face-lift for the slow-selling R-class, and the vehicle looks undeniably better. The new styling was intended to make the R-class appear a bit less like a minivan, and that effort has succeeded. The R-class now better resembles its big, successful brother, the GL-class SUV. I've always liked the combination of utility, luxury, and prestige that the R-class provides, but the market didn't agree with me. And although the R350 has a very impressive, very efficient diesel powertrain, I'm not sure the market will respond, especially given the R350's high price. It seems that for those Americans who want to haul more than four or five people in a Mercedes, the GL is what they want. But if that big SUV leaves you cold, by all means, check out the R-class. There's a lot to love here -- just not the monthly payments.
Acknowledging the fact that it's difficult to remain an adolescent forever, Mini expanded its lineup with a longer wheelbase Clubman model for the 2008 model year. A longer wheelbase, a third entry door, and what Mini USA calls rear barn doors are the key features. As with other Minis, six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available with two 1.6-liter DOHC four-cylinder engines: the standard Cooper Clubman is normally aspirated, the Cooper S is turbocharged and intercooled. For 2011, a mid-cycle refresh applies to the whole family of two- and three-door Minis.
Germany supplies 40% of the parts in a Buick Regal, and the cars are assembled in Opel's Russelsheim, Germany plant. This Regal was originally intended to be a Saturn Aura, but then Saturn was put out to pasture during the bankruptcy and even GM's control of Opel was uncertain last fall. Thankfully, GM found a way to hang onto Opel after bankruptcy and the complicated restructuring process.