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

Mercedes-Benz outs CLS Shooting Brake

Wagon the tail: The Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake carries over the 2010 concept’s wooden luggage compartment lining.

Swoopy CLS Shooting Brake to hit Australian Mercedes-Benz showrooms in November

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Mercedes-Benz logo2 Jul 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

THE production version of the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake made its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England at the weekend and is confirmed to launch in Australia around November this year.

Pricing and specifications are yet to be decided but Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager of corporate communications David McCarthy told GoAuto a V8-powered AMG variant of the coupe-styled wagon is confirmed.

Mr McCarthy said there has already been customer interest in the AMG variant since Benz committed to producing the wagon version of its sleek four-door coupe in November 2010.

Mercedes-Benz has not issued details on the AMG Shooting Brake, but gave it a run at Goodwood wearing camouflage – and it is expected to run the same 386kW/700Nm 5.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 that powers the coupe to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds.

In production form, the regular Shooting Brake remains faithful – apart from the slight change in spelling – to the Shooting Break concept that previewed it at the Beijing motor show in April 2010.

The main differences are – as is usually the case – larger door mirrors and conventional door handles, while the second row of seats and luggage area have been tamed down.

Instead of a pair of individual race-style seats separated by a continuation of the centre console, in the back is a bench, with the outboard positions sculpted to form separate well-bolstered sports seats.

Although the cargo area retains the concept’s yacht-style wooden floor, to which optional aluminium loading rails can be applied, the innovative leather pannier-style side storage compartments have been ditched in favour of traditional carpeted surfaces with luggage nets and removable hard covers.

A technological departure on the CLS Shooting Brake comes in the shape of optional LED headlights that for the first time combine with Mercedes’ Intelligent Light System, which provides adaptive lighting and automatic high beam.

Each headlight consists of 71 LEDs, which Benz claims last around five times longer than a Xenon bulb while providing a beam that more closely resembles daylight.

Naturally, the CLS Shooting Brake will be available with a full complement of active safety technologies, such as blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, fatigue detection and radar-based adaptive cruise control with automatic collision avoidance.

The closest competitors Benz will have for the CLS Shooting Brake will be the Audi A7 Sportback and BMW 5 Series GT.

With the rear seats in place, the Benz has 590 litres of luggage space, extending to 1550 litres with them folded down, which trumps the A7’s 535 and 1390 litres.

However, the BMW can match the Mercedes, with space increasing from 440 to 590 litres by sliding the rear seats forward, expanding to a Benz-beating 1700 litres with them folded flat and the parcel shelf removed.

Described as an “unprecedented version of a sports car with five seats and a large tailgate,” the CLS Shooting Brake shares the coupe’s curved, slim window line and frameless aluminium doors.

Extending further back than the coupe, the swoop of the Shooting Brake’s rearmost windows drops sharply, giving the impression of a more exaggerated coupe shape than the curved roof really provides.

Mercedes-Benz head of design Gorden Wagener said the CLS Shooting Brake “stands for the enhanced design idiom of Mercedes-Benz which is oriented towards aesthetic, avant-garde principles”.

For the E-Class on which the CLS is based, Mercedes-Benz charges a premium of between $3515 and $7300 for the wagon compared with the equivalent sedan, which reflects differences in equipment between body styles.

Mr McCarthy indicated a decision on Shooting Brake pricing will be made in the next month or so.

“We haven’t worked it out (yet) because equipment-wise we have to decide how to spec it,” he said.

With the exception of the yet-to-be-announced AMG variant, Mercedes-Benz has provided details on which of the company’s familiar four-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines will be fitted to the Shooting Brake.

V6 diesel and petrol V8 variants will be produced with the option of 4MATIC all-wheel drive, although these are likely to be sold in snow-belt markets rather than Australia.

The four-cylinder CLS coupe – powered by a 150kW/500Nm turbo-diesel – is not sold in Australia, so the entry-level variant here is the $159,200 (plus on-road costs) 3.0-litre diesel-powered 350 CDI, which delivers 195kW and 620Nm for a 6.6-second sprint from rest to 100km/h.

Audi’s A7 starts from $142,750 with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel under the bonnet and the BMW 5 Series GT opens at $102,500 for the 530d, powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six diesel.

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