2013 Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake review
By Ian Lynas, 14th December 2012
The name 'Shooting Brake' originated in the early 19th century as a term for a vehicle used to carry shooting parties with their equipment and game. The term 'brake' was initially a chassis used to brake horses and was subsequently employed to describe a vehicle powered by an engine.
For many years, the names became part of history but returned in the form of the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake.
Innovative design and engineering has always been characterised in Mercedes-Benz cars and this car carries on the tradition. It mixes luxury; comfort and elegance with the efficiency, safety and attention to detail.
Eight years ago the CLS was introduced: a new kind of car which combined the elegance and beauty of a large coupe with the accessibility and space of a four-door saloon. The Shooting Brake is the latest chapter in the story.
Luxury is what you expect from Mercedes-Benz and even the luggage area is lined with high-quality carpet and is available with optional aluminium designer loading rails and you can specify an American Cherry Wood floor with black inlays, similar to the decking of luxury yachts.
There are two individual rear seats with generous space for a full-sized third passenger between them and the rear seats can be folded to increase the luggage capacity from 590 to 1,550 litres. An electric automatically operated Easy-Pack tailgate is standard; just to make life even easier.
Just like the CLS Coupe, the Shooting Brake features an aluminium-intensive construction; the tailgate is made of aluminium, as are the frameless doors, bonnet, front wings, suspension, engines and substantial parts of the support elements.
A slippery shape makes a significant contribution to fuel economy and the economy-enhancing electro-mechanical power steering is fine-tuned to deliver the ideal balance of responsiveness and feedback to match the character of this vehicle.
The Shooting Brake shares its three-engine choice with the Coupe. There are two turbo-diesel engines, the 204bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder and 265bhp 3-litre V6 and then there is the 557bhp 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 that powers the CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake.
My test vehicle was the CLS 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport with 7G-TRONIC PLUS seven-speed automatic transmission.
The end result in performance is 0-62 mph in 7.8 seconds with a top speed of 146 mph.
In order to get a taste of the modern day Shooting Brake I explored a variety of roads including some challenging snow covered tarmac in the Peak District. The CLS Shooting Brake may be a large vehicle but I discovered its sports-like handling qualities and impressive levels of comfort.
On the economy front, the combined figure quoted is 52.3 mpg with a CO2 rating of 143 g/km.
Every version is equipped with ADAPTIVE BRAKE with Hill Hold function, the ATTENTION ASSIST driver drowsiness detector, automatic headlamp beam range control, NECK-PRO anti-whiplash front head restraints and the PRE-SAFE system to prepare the seat-belts, windows and sunroof to give occupants the best chance of emerging from an impending collision unharmed.
With a price tag of £52,370 you do get a lot for your money, this is a superbly equipped vehicle not only in terms of equipment, but also in luxury and handling.
My first encounter with this new Mercedes was at Lisbon Airport where it took centre stage and I have to admit that I could not make up my mind whether I liked it or not.
That all changed with first hand experience and Mercedes should be congratulated for bringing something refreshingly different to the market.