With the 7 seat option now, if you are in the market for a luxury brand to haul a family of 5 + occasional/regular guests, this is the must have. Having done my share of research on 7- Seater SUVs (MDX, Q7, GL etc.), I am not regretting my decision to buy this "Van or SUV" vehicle at all. I waited for 2 months after hearing about the 7 Seat option before picking up my 2008 R320 CDI on August 29th. We get all the 4WD benefits that the SUVs bring and most of the family comforts of a 7 seater Van including, most importantly, a good rear seat which seats adults and not people under 5' alone. Also, the Mercedes brand has its fair share of luxury inputs to this vehicle.
A lot of room inside, great seating expecially the 3rd row. My suggestion, pay the additional $ 1,000 for the Diesel and you will not regret the fewer trips to the gas station. Its a little noisier and slower upto the 20 MPH zone, but after that, you cannot differentiate from a gas engine.
One con and a solution - The trunk is rather small. We have two kids and their Strollers eat into the trunk if we are fully loaded with 7 passengers. However, that did not stop us from our first long outing in this feature loaded car. We just decided to change the way we pack...more Soft Bags.