The Mercedes Benz CLS Shooting Brake. A station wagon with coupé contours. Or: a coupé with a station wagon design. That's because in addition to the CLS coupé's four doors, the Shooting Brake version also sports a big back hatch and a lot of cargo space.
But as our car reviewer Mathis points out, "station wagon" doesn't quite capture it. Inside it feels more like a coupé. In back there's ample cargo space, but that too is different than in a station wagon, because there's no flat cargo floor. So what IS it? Ultimately, it's a sports car with five seats and a sizeable hatch.
The front end speaks the language of the CLS Coupé. A big Mercedes star... embedded in a brawny-looking front grille. Daytime running lights in the lower front apron and three-way LED headlights underscore the sporty look. Even the indicators on the outside mirrors make a slick impression. Along the side, plenty of edges catch the eye.
Underneath the star, a long tailgate handle emphasizes the back end's broadness.
The standard LED tail lights, already familiar from the coupé, stretch far into the sides.
It's certainly a feast for the eyes.
Our test car's standard rear pneumatic suspension meets the high standards we expect of this car, and ensures sound handling on the road.
But driving this car takes a bit of practice. The gear shift is located on the steering column, for example - not the center console.
Mathis says the gear shift on the right of the steering column takes getting used to. Other cars have the windshield wiper controls there. On the Mercedes that's on the left side. "Personally I wanted to turn the wipers on and off there. Instead I shifted into neutral or back into drive. But there are advantages. Here in the middle, where the stick would normally be, there's plenty of storage space."
Mercedes supplies engines ranging up to 386 kilowatts for the Shooting Brake.
Mathis says the 350 CDI he's now driving is far from a top-end engine, but it's fully adequate for a quick getaway.
The diesel engine generates 195 kilowatts of power, reaches a pegged 250 kmh top speed, and costs just under 70 thousand euros in Germany. Plenty of extras are included.
If you like, you can equip the CLS Shooting Brake with all sorts of electronic gizmos. Like the adaptive cruise control, called Distronic Plus. The practical thing is it'll brake to a standstill, for example in a traffic jam, then drive again with just a tap on the gas pedal, and follow the car in front, and brake again. Nice feature!
It's included in the Drive Assitance Package Plus, at a price of almost 27 hundred euros in Germany.
You have to search a bit to find the seat adjusters in the doors.
But the multifunction steering wheel is self-explanatory.
Classic elegance: a quartz clock in the central console.
With the Active Multi-Contour Seat package for over 15 hundred euros, the front seats offer optimal lateral support. It's not available in the back though.
The trunk provides 590 liters of cargo space. Incidentally, the term shooting brake harks back to old English hunting vehicles that were especially light and maneuverable.
One question remains for Mathis: who's going to buy this car? For someone wanting a station wagon it's less than ideal because of the loading sill in the cargo area. If you want a four-door sedan it might feel a bit tight. And those seeking a coupé might go for other architectures. On the other hand, he likes the look outside and inside a lot and could get excited about a car like this, if it weren't for the high sticker price.
The CLS Shooting Brake basic model costs just under 62 thousand euros in Germany.