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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - CLS-class - Shooting Brake

Merc commits to CLS wagon, confirms CLS diesel sedan

Give me a break: The Mercedes-Benz Beijing concept (pictured) is called Shooting Break but the production model will be called Shooting Brake.

Sleek Mercedes-Benz Shooting Break concept to become production reality in 2012

Mercedes-Benz logo10 Nov 2010

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

WITH seemingly no limit to the number of niches that can be created and subsequently filled by the big three German luxury brands, Mercedes-Benz has this week announced that from 2012 it will produce a sleek wagon version of its pioneering CLS four-door coupe.

In a fickle fit of name-changing, Mercedes will badge the new model CLS Shooting Brake, as opposed to Shooting Break, which is what it called the sporty wagon concept that made its world debut at April’s Beijing motor show, accurately previewing the front-end and interior styling of the upcoming CLS sedan before official photos were released in August.

While it is too early to pin down exact specifications of the Shooting Brake, GoAuto can confirm that the booted CLS – for which about 20 pre-orders have already been placed by keen Australian early adopters – will be launched locally in the second quarter of next year with an engine line-up that will include diesel power for the first time in the 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel CLS350 CDI, packing 195kW.

A 170kW/550Nm oil-burner achieves a fuel consumption figure of 6.9L/100km in the current E-class sedan on which the CLS will be based and powers it from rest to 100km/h in a respectable 6.8 seconds.

An extra 25kW notwithstanding, the diesel CLS is likely to better those figures thanks to weight- and fuel-saving measures such as frameless aluminium doors, a low drag coefficient of 0.26 and idle-stop technology, which will be standard across the range.

The rest of the range at launch will be petrol-powered, consisting of the entry-level CLS350 CGI with a direct-injection 3.5-litre V6, a CLS500 sporting a 4.7-litre V8 unit and the CLS63 AMG topping the range with its 400kW/800Nm 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8.

Pricing is as yet unknown but Mercedes-Benz told GoAuto that prospective Benz buyers can “expect the [new CLS] to increase customer value as have all Mercedes-Benz cars since the new C-class.” The Shooting Brake will be built alongside the new CLS at Mercedes’ production facility in Sindelfingen, 20km southwest of Stuttgart. The plant currently builds the C-class sedan, E-class sedan and wagon and S-class and Maybach limousines. The SLS AMG super-coupe is also built there along with a fuel cell-powered B-class.

4 center imageLeft: Mercedes-Benz Shooting Break concept. Below: Mercedes-Benz CLS.

The Stuttgart-based auto-maker broke new ground with the original 2004 CLS, its only true competitor for a long time being the Maserati Quattroporte.

But with increasing pressure from the likes of cross-town neighbour Porsche with its Panamera and the upcoming Audi A7 Sportback – not to mention BMW’s Gran Coupe concept – Mercedes has been forced to raise the game again.

The Beijing Shooting Break concept was unmistakeably a wagon but with frameless side windows, muscular, exaggerated rear wheel-arches extending into the rear doors and four individual racing-style seats separated by a single centre console running the length of the plush wood and leather-lined passenger compartment, there was no hiding its sporting intentions.

Unlike the concept, the production model is likely to have some form of partition between the cargo area and the rear seats, but useful-looking leather pannier-type storage compartments over the wheel wells (being used to store golfing equipment in the press photos) are a nod towards practicality that could well be carried over, at least onto the options list.

Mercedes’ confidence to build the Shooting Brake was no doubt bolstered by the 2011 CLS being recently awarded the European Golden Steering Wheel award for best luxury car, having fought off competition from Volvo’s S60, BMW’s 5 Series, Audi’s A7 and bizarrely, the Suzuki Kizashi.

The European award, which Mercedes has now won 19 times, was voted upon by readers of Auto Bild and its sister publications from all over Europe to form a shortlist, before the five finalists were subjected to three days of appraisals by 40 testers.

As GoAuto has reported, the redesigned CLS will also feature optional full-LED headlights, which using a total of 71 LEDs, Mercedes says make it the first car to use LED technology to replace all traditional headlight functions, including low and high-beam plus indicators.

Sales of the old CLS, of which more than 170,000 were sold globally before recently ceasing production, have been in decline here since 2008, with only four sold last month bringing the total to just 60 for the year so far.

In 2005, the year of its Australian launch, 540 were sold, with sales remaining in the low 500s for the two subsequent years before tailing off.

Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific is optimistic about sales of next year’s new model and is confident that there will be sufficient stock to satisfy demand.

The reason for the change in spelling from Break for the concept to its homonym Brake for the production model is unclear but Mercedes does point out that the name is interchangeable and dates back to a type of horse-drawn cart used to break in wild horses (or brake their urge to move) in order to condition them for work purposes.

When not used for horse training, breaks (or brakes) were often adapted to carry hunting equipment, giving rise to the term, Shooting Break (or Brake).

The Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake is said to be inspired by the first motorised Shooting Brakes that appeared in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s as luxurious, coach-built two-door wagons.

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