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Mercedes CLS63 2013 Review

EXPERT RATING
8
Shooting brakes were conceived and crafted to carry people and their assorted gear on hunting trips.
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Shooting brakes were conceived and crafted to carry people and their assorted gear on hunting trips. Go hunting in the CLS 63 AMG S version and sports cars become fair game. That's preposterous for a luxury vehicle that's the curvaceous offspring of a four-door coupe and a wagon … but the big Merc is a preposterous kind of car.

VALUE

At this end of the market, the "transaction price" can be distinctly different from the sticker price. Which is a good thing when the official cost is $265,145 before on-roads. The money buys the best looking wagon on the market - everyone's tried to copy the CLS look and the shooting brake variant is just as attractive.

It will pack five grown-ups and their luggage in a cabin fitted with premium leather, heated and cooled front seats, tri-zone aircon and a Harman Kardon surround sound system for the digital radio.
It also has the full suite of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance software to keep the occupants safe and aware of their surroundings. And there's nothing else on the market quite like it.

TECHNOLOGY

The 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 is so potent it poisons perceptions of other, lesser engines. Even the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre engine fitted to the latest 507 edition of the C63 AMG can't match its ferocious acceleration or fuel efficiency. Both vehicles hit 100km/h just 4.2 seconds after takeoff but the smaller, lighter C ingests fuel at an official 12 litres every 100 clicks against 10.3Lfor the bigger, bulker CLS.

The AMG multi-clutch auto shifts seamlessly in comfort mode up to a neck-aching surge in the sports setting, giving owners a limousine ride or rocket launch simulation at the flick of the rotary switch between the front seats. The dampers can also be progressively stiffened and the stability control settings loosened or disabled for track work. Track work?

DESIGN

This is the result of letting the CLS coupe snuggle up under the car covers with an E-Class estate. With a cargo space of 590L, the CLS Shooting Brake can't match the E for capacity but it more than compensates in the looks department.

Front-on the big tri-star badge tells the world it's a sporty Merc while down the back four chromed exhaust tips - and the AMG badge - are an equally assertive declaration. The profile is pure eye-candy, from the upwardly tapering character line to the glasshouse arc. AMG thankfully shifts the transmission selector from the steering column to the centre console.

SAFETY

Set off all 11 airbags and the interior of the CLS 63 Shooting Brake would transform into a mini jumping castle. Before that happens, the massive AMG brakes will have scrubbed off speed. It hasn't been tested but is based on the five-star E-Class, so it'll do all right if the driver is inept enough to ignore or defeat the myriad safety systems and hit something.

DRIVING

The Shooting Brake is an automotive chameleon, blending in which whatever mode the driver dictates. It can't be faulted as an executive shuttle. Legroom doesn't match the cavernous S-Class but is more than adequate for those smaller than NBA forwards.

It is equally well suited to the role of weekend cruiser, coping with a set of luggage or pair of golf bags without fuss. The relatively small rear opening means it won't be carrying bulky furniture, assuming owners would deign to move it themselves in the first place.

People buy AMG variants because they want to have fun or simply want the best. Either way, the CLS doesn't disappoint. It's only on the tightest of roads at the most inappropriate speeds that the five-metre length starts to become evident. Even then, the grip and body control is phenomenal for a two-tonne vehicle.

The AMG-tweaked steering has all the precision of a neurosurgeon - point the blunt nose at the apex and it performs a duet with the suspension to ensure it's clipped irrespective of the road conditions.
Get to your destination and it's hard not to take a second look at the curvy CLS, not just for the looks, but the satisfaction of seeing brake dust on the front wheels and the bug-splatter on the screen. It affirms to passers-by the Shooting Brake is being broken in.

VERDICT

The automotive gods have smiled on the CLS 63 AMG S Shooting Brake. It is practical, insanely powerful and prettier than a photoshopped supermodel.

CLS 63 AMG S Shooting Brake 
Price: from $265,145
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Capped price servicing: No
Service interval: 12 months/20,000km
Resale: 44 per cent
Safety: Not tested
Engine: 5.5-litre V8 twin-turbo, 430kW/800Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto; RWD
Thirst: 10.L/100km 98 RON, 239g/km CO 2
Dimensions: 5m (L), 1.9m (W), 1.4m (H)
Weight: 1955kg
Spare: Space-saver

Pricing guides

$36,990
Based on 18 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$30,990
Highest Price
$41,800

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CLS500 4.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $41,600 – 53,240 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 2013 CLS500 Pricing and Specs
CLS63 AMG 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $52,600 – 66,550 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 2013 CLS63 AMG Pricing and Specs
CLS63 AMG S 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $52,600 – 66,550 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 2013 CLS63 AMG S Pricing and Specs
CLS350 BE 3.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $36,000 – 46,530 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class 2013 CLS350 BE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Pricing Guide

$68,500

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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