Which are the ugly Mercedes Benz cars?

In this blog, we will find out which models in Mercedes Benz are considered ugly? When were they launched and what are the specifications? This blog will also answer the following questions: who designs the latest Mercedes Benz models? And are the latest Mercedes Benz models ugly?

Which are the ugly Mercedes Benz cars?

The Mercedes Benz models that are considered Ugly are listed in the table below:

Class Production year
A-Class W168 1997–2004
R Class W2512005-2017

A-Class (W168)

Up until 1994 Mercedes Benz had only 4 door sedan models, the C Class was the entry into the premium and expensive world of Mercedes Benz cars. But Mercedes Benz wanted to enter the entry-level small car market in an attempt to penetrate developing markets like South Africa and Southeast Asia. The entry-level small car market was dominated by Japanese brands like Toyota, Suzuki, Mazda and German brand Volkswagen.

The first small car from Mercedes Benz was named the A-Class model series W168. The A-Class will be the smallest car produced by Mercedes Benz but it will offer good interior space for a full-sized family. After a few years in the development phase, Mercedes Benz unveiled the A-Class at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997. 

Mercedes Benz specially developed a front subframe that can fit the engine in a transverse layout along with a transmission. The A-Class was also the first Mercedes Benz car with a front-wheel-drive system. Rear-wheel-drive cars are not only expensive to manufacture due to additional components like propeller shaft and rear differential but the interior space is also compromised due to the transmission tunnel. 

Who designed the A-Class W168?

The car was designed by Steve Mattin who also designed the E  Class model series W210 and the S Class model series W220. The E and S Class designs were really well received across global markets and they stood true to the test of time. Even today the E and S Class look good enough to rival any modern car but the design of the A-Class was not the finest hour of Steve Mattin.

The A-Class was unusually tall, probably to give additional interior headroom and had big windows. The large windows did allow natural light into the cabin and made it look more spacious. However, it was not proportional to the complete design of the cars. From the front, the headlights were too small and the front bumper design did not do anything to make the A-Class look exciting.

What was the fundamental problem with the design of A Class?

Mechanically the design of the A-Class was flawed as it gained popularity for becoming a car that can easily overturn. The A-Class failed miserably in the evasive manoeuvre test conducted by a Swedish automobile publication company named  Teknikens Värld. 

Evasive manoeuvres involve a high-speed swerve to avoid obstacles and the A-Class overturned due to its tall design and high centre of gravity. Mercedes Benz recalled all the sold models and even went as far as stopping the production of the A-Class until the issue is rectified. The problem was rectified after implementing an electronic stability program in the vehicle’s braking system and adding anti-roll bars on the rear side of the car.

Mercedes Benz did not make a profit on the sale of the A-Class and the market response was also very poor. It took Mercedes Benz two generations of A-Class to make it a worthy product, the third generation was a full-sized hatchback and it was well-received in the market.

R-Class (W251)

The R Class was the first Mercedes Benz car that was designed as an MVP (Multiple personal vehicles) the production started in 2005 and deliveries began the next year. It was based on the ML and GL sports utility vehicle platform. There were standard and long-wheelbase versions, the longer wheelbase was more popular in America and China while the standard model was sold in the rest of the world.

Where was the Mercedes R Class Manufactured?

It was mainly manufactured in North American and American factories but the design of the car was not popular with the buyers. The headlights of the car were not similar to the double-barrel shape for which Mercedes Benz is known. The roof was low making getting in and out difficult for the second and third-row passengers. The motorised sliding door was larger and it did not help with the looks of the R Class.

Mercedes Benz did not even reach the targeted sales of 50,000 units per year in the North American Market. The petrol model powered by the M272 was severely underpowered and the mileage of the R class was very poor. The main reason for the low sales of the R class was the design as it looked like a stand-alone product and did not follow the design philosophy of other models sold by Mercedes Benz at that time. 

Therefore even after introducing a facelift model that improved the overall design to a certain level, the R Class was discontinued in 2012 in the North American Market and the following year Mercedes Benz took it off the shelves from all the international markets.

Who designs the latest Mercedes Benz models?

The latest Mercedes Benz models are designed by Gorden Wagener. He is also the chief designer at Mercedes Benz AG and his design philosophy reflects Sensual Purity and Modern Luxury. some of the popular models he designed are as follows:

  • Mercedes-Benz A-Class
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W221)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
  • Mercedes-EQ
  • Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
  • Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6
  • Mercedes-Benz F015 concept

Are the latest Mercedes Benz models ugly?

No, the latest Mercedes Benz models are not ugly. Mercedes Benz’s design process is very advanced and even before the first production mule is made, the designs are finalised in sophisticated computer software. A full-size clay model is also made to study the reflection of the lights on the body lines.

The latest Mercedes Benz design language is very good. The latest Mercedes Benz S CLass is taken as a reference and the smaller models like the E and the C Class are designed based on similar body styles.

The entire Mercedes Benz’s latest product range looks more homogeneous and although there is some criticism about that the sale figures are at a record high. Mercedes Benz is the leading car maker in the luxury passenger car segment.

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Mercedes Benz is renowned for making good locking premium cars but the designer did get it wrong for some models. But the designers have learnt from their mistakes and currently, Mercedes Benz makes some of the best-looking production cars in the luxury car segment. Mercedes Benz cars have also won Best looking car of the year awards by most popular motoring publications in the world.