First Drive: Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake
SECTOR Luxury estate PRICE 49,360 – £83,000 FUEL 28 – 53.3mpg CO2 139 – 235 g/km
The CLS is a car that has succeeded despite its limitations, and because of them. Four seats, with elegant lines, have been enough to make the saloon-come-coupe a roaring hit for Mercedes-Benz. Now, you can get one that has no limitations, for the Shooting Brake version has five seats and an estate boot. It’s impossible to fail, surely?
The CLS 250 CDI Shooting Brake produces 204bhp, with CO2 emissions of 139g/km, the CLS 350 CDI generates 265bhp and 161g/km CO2, while the utterly bonkers £83,000 557bhp CLS 63 AMG version will even manage 28mpg.
At 590 litres with the seats up, there’s more space than an Audi A6 Avant, but not as much as the voluminous, and noticeably cheaper and less luxurious, E-Class Estate. So you are paying a lot more money for a lot less practicality. Lucky then, that the success of the CLS is predicated on more than just ability to carry large loads.
Now, as an executive express it is a fabulous thing, with long, elegant lines and a roofline that plunges like a coupe, even with an estate boot in tow. As an alternative to a big, in your face SUV, it really is a compelling proposition. Shame then, that it can’t be specified in four-wheel drive in the UK.
We drove all three models and for a fleet, the four cylinder 250 CDI looks best on paper, but it’s an engine that feels a little rough in such close proximity to the cabin. In the bigger, heavier M-Class it is further away and expectations of sportiness are less high, so it seem to be less of a compromise.
The Shooting Brake is a luxury sporting estate, and needs an engine to match, which the 350 CDI V6 does beautifully. Fast, refined and relatively efficient, it is the executive’s choice.
Priced from £49,360 for the base 250 CDI and about £4,000 more for the 350 CDI it’s not a cheap option in the context of most cars, but the standard CLS is our luxury car of the year, and the Shooting Brake is even better still.