20 April 2010 - 09:00
Break from the norm
If you’ve always hankered after a four-door coupe-estate, get ready to have
your nichey little mind blown.
Mercedes will this week unveil the CLS Shooting Break concept at the Beijing show. Essentially it’s an estate version of Merc’s big sort-of-coupe and it looks likely to reach production very soon.
You might quite reasonably point out that Mercedes already has a big four-door
estate in production, the E-Class Wagon. But hell, if BMW can have the 5-Series
Touring and GT (not to mention the X6), surely we can forgive Merc another
estate? Especially when it looks as good as this.
Of course, it’s not really a shooting brake (or even shooting break – Merc asserts that either spelling is traditional). Shooting brakes have two doors. But the concept retains the CLS’s four-door shape, melding its swoopy lines with a decent-sized boot and an SLS-inspired front end – Merc’s so-called ‘soft nose’ that will roll across the range over the next few years – featuring clever new headlights.
These host an impressive 71 LEDs, and are the world’s first fully adaptive front lamps, swivelling from side to side but also dipping and raising depending on speed, road type and weather. They’ll reach production this year.
The Shooting Break also features Mercedes’ new 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, a turbocharged 225kW unit which heralds a new generation of Merc ‘V’ engines with lean burn technology to reduce emissions and improve economy. A twin-turbo 4.6-litre V8 producing well over 298kW is also expected soon.
As you’d expect, there is much poshness in the cabin – milled aluminium, porcelain-hued nappa leather and double-lapped stitching, no less – and precisely four seats, no more. Like the CLS coupe, we’d expect the production Shooting Break to remain a strict four-seater, leaving five-seat duties to the E-Class Wagon.
It’s easy to be cynical about the nichification of the luxury estate market but, if and when it reaches production, the CLS Shooting Break should be a good ‘un. Thoughts, loyal TopGearers?