The 2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class was never a nice looking vehicle. It was trying to find a gap in the market as a luxury sport touring wagon, but sales never amounted to much. Hopefully, an extreme makeover is just what is needed.

In case you have not seen heavily padded spy photos of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class severe facelift, we have some fresh ones for you. The large Mercedes luxury sport touring wagon, which is really closer in size to an MPV, had worse sales than Mercedes expected, causing them to cut prices, add another rear seat and offer 4Matic all-wheel-drive system last year.

Even with that pricing adjustment, the R-Class sold 75% fewer vehicles than the 50,000 Mercedes-Benz had expected.

But Mercedes-Benz is not ready to give up on the R-Class, with hopes that the six-seater will carve out its own corner of the market. Previous efforts, like added choice in engine/transmission layout, making the AMG exterior standard, and slashing prices, were to no avail.

Now the company is stepping up efforts by trying again to beautify the giant. We expect the front, hidden completely under padding in these photos, to be nip/tucked into something that does not look so dull. Perhaps they will square off the front a bit more, as the current version has a front end reminiscent of a late-90s Chrysler. Only minor changes are expected at the rear, with new tail lights, tail pipes, and a nicer bumper on its way.

Engine choices were never a problem with this van/wagon (vagon?). The R-Class choices include two 3.0-liter V6 diesels, which get 190 hp and 272 hp. Also available are a 3.5-liter V6 with 272 horses, and a 5.0-liter V8, which cranks out 306 hp. The latter pulls the wagon from 0-100 km/h in just 7.0 seconds. The R63 AMG, which had a 6.2-liter V8 rated at 503 hp, got the axe some time ago.

We also would not be surprised if the weight is cut down, and a more fuel efficient engine becomes available. Either way, expect the same amount of choices on the updated version. The 2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is expected to debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

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