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Benz hitches a wagon to the CLA range

Putting on the brakes: Mercedes’ five-door CLA Shooting Brake gets more headroom than its coupe-style sedan sibling.

Mercedes confirms new roomy five-door CLA Shooting Brake for Australia next year

25 Nov 2014

MERCEDES-BENZ has raised the roof on its hot-selling front-wheel-drive CLA “four-door coupe” to create a little brother to the big, swoopy CLS Shooting Brake wagon that pioneered the slope-backed five-door style in the Benz range two years ago.

Set to land in Australia in the second quarter of 2015, the CLA Shooting Brake will include a feisty 45 AMG version powered by the same class-leading 265kW/450Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the CLA45 AMG sedan.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific says early demand in dealerships indicates the new wagon will generate incremental sales for its CLA range that has already established itself as a top-three seller for the three-pointed-star brand in Australia in a little more than a year.

Although pricing and specifications will not be announced until closer to launch, the CLA Shooting Brake line-up is expected to mimic the sedan range that is offered in four levels with four different petrol and diesel powertrains, ranging from the base 1.6-litre petrol CLA200 to the CLA45 AMG 4Matic.

However, the 1.8-litre diesel now available in Australia in the CLA200 CDI sedan is missing from the European CLA Shooting Brake line-up. According to specifications from Germany, the smallest diesel in the wagon is the 2.2-litre engine that comes in two states of tune, 100kW/300Nm and 130kW/350Nm.

The Shooting Brake is also expected to carry a price premium over the sedan, similar to the $2500 increment of the C-Class Coupe over the C-Class sedan.

This would mean the CLA wagon range would start about $52,400 (plus on-road costs) and climb to $89,400 for the AMG-enhanced flagship.

The new model represents the fifth body shape based on Mercedes’ front-wheel-drive platform, following in the wheel tracks of the A-Class, B-Class, CLA-Class sedan and GLA-Class SUV.

The CLA Shooting Brake is all-new behind the B-pillars, gaining an extra window behind the rear doors, plus a thin C-pillar disguised behind the side glass.

The five-door body is the same overall length and width as the sedan, at 4630mm and 1777mm respectively, but the flowing roofline is a few millimetres taller, at 1435mm.

The taller roof has the benefit of helping to increase rear-seat headroom by 40mm – significant in a model not renowned for its back-seat spaciousness.

Compared with the sedan’s boot, luggage room is increased by about 25 litres, to 495 litres, growing to 1354 litres with the rear seats folded. As well, the back seats can be moved into a steeply raked cargo position, to accommodate 595 litres of luggage.

The cargo space gets an electrically operated tailgate and includes a collapsible box for stowage of loose items.

The new body shape with its roof-mounted rear spoiler is not quite as slippery as that of the sedan, generating a 0.26Cd drag coefficient compared with a world-beating 0.22Cd for the sedan.

Fuel efficiency is top notch, however, with the European CLA200 CDI claiming a 3.9 litre per 100km combined fuel consumption rating.

In Europe, where the CLA Shooting Brake goes on sale in the New Year, the range includes seven engine choices – two diesel and four petrol – all mated with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Two of those powertrains are available with all-wheel drive – the CLA250 4Matic and CLA45 AMG 4Matic. In Europe at least, AWD diesel variants will be added in September next year in time for the snowy northern winter.

The flagship Mercedes-AMG CLA45 comes with AMG’s SpeedShift dual-clutch auto transmission and is said to be capable of bolting from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds – about one tenth of second slower than the sedan.

The CLA45 gets a number of driving modes to suit the driving mood, from fuel-saving ‘C’ for “controlled efficiency” to ‘S’ for “sport”, and includes a race start launch function.

For the first time, buyers in Europe will be able to tick the box for an optional OrangeArt Edition enhancement pack of orange-tinted highlights including orange rings around the bi-Xenon headlights, around the alloy wheels and across the lower grille and rear diffuser.

This orange theme is carried inside when the sports seats and seatbelts get orange stripes and stitching.

Standard safety equipment on the Shooting Brake includes autonomous braking and driver drowsiness detection.

The CLA sedan was launched in Australia in October last year, quickly becoming one of the German manufacturer’s top-selling models here.

So far this year, Mercedes-Benz has sold 1963 CLA sedans, eclipsed only by the top-selling new C-Class and more affordable A-Class.

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