When the Benz CLS four-door coupe first appeared it attracted plenty of criticism by a bunch or wowsers but went on to spawn a whole new class of vehicle. Benz has just started a new trend using the same CLS formula - in a 'wagon' though they don't like the CLS Shooting Brake referred to as such.
Whatever, it's a wagon with sexy lines and the characteristic CLS arcing roofline, full stop. Like the "coupe" before, the Shooting Brake boasts a blend of luxury and sportiness this time with a greater measure of practicality.
Is it as confronting a design as the coupe? Well, yes, possibly even more so. We have never seen anything like it and the sheer audacity of styling a "carry-all" vehicle like this is to be admired.
One thing's certain, when you see one on the road, you won't forget it in a hurry. The "Shooter" is likely to be compared with a brace of premium, luxury, mid-size European "estates" like the Volvo V70, BMW 5-Series and Audi A6 but that would be missing the point.
It's a stylemeister more than a load toter... pure and simple. Built more for conveying you and your passengers to the golf, yacht club, polo, skiing or scuba diving rather than take the tribe to the footy.
A look at me vehicle for someone who enjoys being the centre of attention. And when you actually get behind the wheel and drive one, that attention from other drivers is clearly evident. It's almost like driving art on wheels.
We get CLS Shooting Brake in two models with the diesel-engined 250 CDi and petrol-powered 350. A 5.5 litre, twin-turbocharged, V8-engined AMG is possible later on. The diesel is a 2143cc, turbocharged, four-cylinder seen in numerous other Benz models.
A cracker of an engine good for a wall of torque, it propels the largish Shooter like a sports sedan while using as little as 5.5-litres/100km. The numbers are actually 150kW/500Nm thanks in part to a twin-turbo installation under the curving bonnet.
ON THE ROAD
Drive goes to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission. Automatic stop-start shuts down the engine when the car comes to a stop to save fuel in traffic. The 350 has a naturally-aspirated, direct-injection, 3.5 litre V6 and develops 225kW and 370Nm.
It too is used in numerous other Benz models. Like the diesel, it powers the rear wheels through the same 7G-tronic conventional auto. Stop-start helps the 350 achieve 8.2 litres/100km. So, you get head turning looks, generous standard equipment, impressive ride and handling characteristics and something really special though it's an option that should be standard.
It's a cherrywood timber load floor done in boat deck style available for $4900. Now that's something no other car currently offers - a real talking point with a wow factor guaranteed to hit the envy button. And after all, isn't that what the Benz Shooting Brake is all about...
The diesel is $129,000 while the petrol is $173,000.
Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake 250 CDI
Price: from $129,000
Service interval: 12 months/25,000km
Crash rating: Not rated
Safety: 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, EBA, TC, ESC
Engine: 2.1L twin-turbodiesel, 150kW/500Nm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, RWD
Dimensions: 4.96m (L), 1.89m (W), 1.42m (H)
Thirst: 5.5L/100km (diesel), 144g/km CO2