BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Feb 2011
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To be honest, we got the hitch more for accessories (bike racks, cargo carriers, etc), but also to have the ability to tow as we will occasionally need to tow in the future.
That said, the most important thing for towing with the R-class is to be mindful of the fact that the (aftermarket) receiver is low compared to most SUVs so you should be careful when going over bumps and at the bottoms of hills; this is more an issue with hitch accessories than with a trailer as you'll want the ball mount in the rise orientation.
Other than that, you'll want to make use of the shift range restrictions (paddles on the back of the steering wheel) to keep the engine within it's power band and not allow it to go into overdrive; i.e. don't let it shift to a gear that would allow the engine to drop below ~2500 RPM, particularly when climbing hills. This is also very useful going down hills as the engine will act as a brake thus not putting as much stress on the breaks. The reason for this is that at low RPMs the engine doesn't have nearly as much power and the load of the trailer weight would add significantly more stress to the engine than when operating within the power band. Without a trailer (or heavy load in the trunk) it's ok for the car to go into overdrive as this translates to better fuel economy.
Another point to be aware of is that for the 2009 R-class Mercedes put in a larger intercooler (primarily as a precautionary measure) since that was the year they started offering the tow package as a factory option. As such, be sure to keep an eye on the oil temp to be sure that it doesn't overheat; although this shouldn't be an issue unless you're towing a fully loaded trailer through the desert.
Last edited by radodrill; 05-06-2012 at 05:44 AM.