A more styling, yet still practical alternative to the C-Class Estate

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake is a coupe-style, station wagon version of the regular 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA. It’s based on the second-generation 2020 CLA, which was unveiled in January 2019. The 2020 CLA Shooting Brake broke cover at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show with identical specifications and drivetrains. But the Shooting Brake benefits from the longer roof, which translates into enhanced luggage room. The engine lineup includes a variety of gasoline and diesel four-cylinder engines. Unlike the 2020 CLA, the 2020 CLA Shooting Brake isn’t offered in the United States. Find out more about Merc’s latest sporty station wagon in the review below.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior

  • Heavily based on CLA four-door
  • Sleek roof
  • Unique rear end
  • Inspired by CLS
  • Shares cues with A-Class
  • Plenty of options
  • Various size wheels
  • Larger than old model
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior
- image 827978
Just like the old CLA Shooting Brake, the new wagon is identical to the regular CLA from the nose to the C-pillars.

The rear section stands out thank to the longer roof and a wagon-style tailgate instead of a traditional decklid. Despite the notably different layout, the Shooting Brake is just as long as the regular CLA.

The previous CLA Shooting Brake looked a lot like its bigger brother, the CLS Shooting Brake. I could say the same for the new model, but Mercedes-Benz has yet to launch a Shooting Brake version of the third-gen CLS. And it might not even happen, as recent rumors suggest the Germans are discontinuing the midsize wagon. So the statement is only half true. Just like the regular CLA, it borrows many styling elements from the latest CLS, but it blends them with features seen on the A-Class.

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Up front, the diamond-block grille with the central star and horizontal stripes on each side is shared with other Mercedes-Benz models.

The headlamps, on the other hand are unique, as they look a bit more organic than the CLS' and A-Class' thanks to a new extension in the lower and outer corner.

The front bumper looks awfully familiar. The A-shaped center section with arms that extend toward the lower corners of the bumper, large side vents with two winglets each, and the sporty splitter at the bottom all look similar to those seen on the A-Class. The hood comes from the small hatchback too. It features a similar shape and it also includes the two power domes on each side of the center line.

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Things change a bit onto the sides. With no CLS Shooting Brake to compare it to, we can say that the CLA Shooting Brake looks unique. It’s the company’s only sporty station wagon as of January 2020. But of course, the profile looks identical to the regular CLA from the nose to the C-pillars. It also shares a lot with the old CLA Shooting Brake, but the frameless doors and the fact that the cabin was moved farther toward the back give it a notably sportier stance. This is a breath of fresh air given that most station wagons tend to look utilitarian toward the rear.

As far as wheels go, Mercedes-Benz offers a wide selection and most of them are shared with the A-Class. The standard rollers measure 18 inches, but you can grab bigger, 19-inch rims off the options list.

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The rear end of the CLA Shooting Brake is unique compared to any other Mercedes. Again, mostly because the CLS has yet to spawn a Shooting Brake version. The taillights and bumper are obviously taken from the sedan, but the small vertical vents in the apron are missing, likely for a more utilitarian look. The fascia is also very similar to the sedan, but it’s incorporated into the tailgate. The cool thing is that Mercedes kept the fascia at the same angle as on the sedan, so the tailgate looks rather sleek.

It's definitely much sleeker than the E-Class Wagon, so you cannot get these wagons mixed up.
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Size-wise, the CLA Shooting Brake is a tad bigger than its predecessor. Specifically, it’s 48 mm (1.9 inches) longer and 53 mm (2.1 inches) wider. The wheelbase is 30 mm (1.2 inches) longer, which adds some extra legroom for rear-seat passenger. The height remains the same, with the new wagon sitting only two mm (0.07 inches) lower.

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2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake - exterior dimensions
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Predecessor Difference
Length mm 4688 4640 +48
Width mm 1830 1777 +53
Width incl. exterior mirrors mm 1999 2032 -33
Height mm 1442 1444 -2
Wheelbase mm 2729 2699 +30
Front track mm 1612 1549 +63
Rear track mm 1602 1547 +55

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Interior

  • Identical to A-Class
  • Stylish dashboard
  • Big displays
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • A bit more passenger space
  • Plenty of options
  • Decent trunk
  • Almost as spacious as C-Class Estate
  • MBUX infotainment
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Interior
- image 827393

While the exterior mixes features from the A-Class, the CLS, and a few unique cues, the cabin is a carbon copy of the A-Class. Fortunately, the latest A-Class is by far the most appealing and technologically advanced vehicle in its class, so this is actually good news. The CLA doesn’t have direct competitors, but if it had, it would have put them to shame in terms of interior design and equipment.

Identical to the A-Class, the CLA's cabin borrows some features from the bigger Mercedes-Benz models.

Sedan like the E-Class and the S-Class feature very similar dashboard, center stack with three A/C vents, instrument cluster, and the infotainment display layout. The dashboard is a two-tier design, with the horizontal sections separated by metal trim, so it looks pretty fancy for a compact model. The round A/C vents at the corners and on the center stack feature the familiar "turbine" design seen on almost all Mercs. This specific feature debuted on the AMG GT sports car, so it’s another cool design to have in a small wagon.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Interior
- image 827391

Just like in A-Class and other models, the instrument cluster and the infotainment display are set next to each other. It all looks like a really long screen that stretches from the driver’s corner toward the passenger side. But the CLA is missing the hood on top seen on the CLS and other large Mercs, so it features a more spartan layout.

The expensive trims come with two 10.25 displays, like seen in these photos, but the more affordable models have smaller screens.

The CLA Shooting Brake also features Mercedes’ latest, state-of-the-art ambient lighting system with 64 colors and ten configuration.

Of course, another big highlight here is the MBUX infotainment system. Short for Mercedes-Benz User Experience, it features artificial intelligence that has the ability to learn and it can be customized to your liking. It also includes augmented reality technology,through which you can operate the media display and the navigation system once you activate it using the code "Hey Mercedes."

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Interior
- image 827395
As far as passenger space goes, the new CLA Shooting Brake offers a bit of extra room over the old model.

But it’s mostly just a few mm, so you probably won’t feel a big improvement. Front-seat headroom increased by nine mm (0.35 inches), front-seat elbow room is up 35 mm (1.4 inches). Front shoulder room also increased by nine mm (0.35 inches), but legroom is down by one mm (0.04 inches). In the rear, passengers will benefit from an extra mm of legroom, an extra 44 mm (1.73 inches) of elbow room, and an extra 22 mm (0.86 inches) of shoulder room. As you can see, legroom for rear passengers remain the same, but there’s notably more space for the elbow and the shoulders.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake - interior dimensions
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Predecessor Difference
Max. headroom, front mm 1025 1016 +9
Headroom, rear mm 955 947 +8
Legroom, front mm 1062 1063 -1
Legroom, rear mm 861 860 +1
Elbow room, front mm 1457 1422 +35
Elbow room, rear mm 1454 1410 +44
Shoulder room, front mm 1400 1391 +9
Shoulder room, rear mm 1372 1350 +22

When it comes to cargo space, the CLA Shooting Brake swallows up to 505 liters (17.8 cubic feet) of luggage behind the second row seats. That’s an extra 10 liters (0.35 cubic feet) compared to the old model.

Compared to the CLA sedan, the Shooting Brake offers an extra 46 liters of luggage room (1.62 cubic feet). Granted, space behind the second-row seats isn’t that much bigger than the regular CLA, but things change when you fold them. With the seat backs out of the way, you can load up to 1,370 liters (48.4 cubic feet) of luggage.

That’s almost as good as bigger wagons such as the BMW 3 Series Touring and the Audi A4 Avant. The former offers 1,500 liters (53 cubic feet), while the latter comes in at 1,430 liters (50.5 cubic feet). Actually, the CLA Shooting Brake is almost as spacious as the C-Class Estate, rated at 1,510 liters (53.3 cubic feet).

Another important improvement here is the trunk opening. Now measuring 871 mm (34.3 inches), it’s significantly wider than in the previous model, rated at 635 mm (25 inches). That’s an extra 236 mm (9.3 inches) that will help you drop bigger items and bags in the trunk.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Drivetrain

  • Engines from the A-Class
  • Only four-cylinder mills
  • Both gasoline and diesel
  • Gas with up to 221 horsepower
  • AMG versions available
  • Diesel with up to 295 pound-feet
  • Manual transmission
  • Automatic gearbox
  • Retuned suspension
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior
- image 827976
As you might have already guessed, the CLA Shooting Brake shares underpinnings with the four-door version of the vehicle.

This means that it’s available with a big variety of gasoline and diesel units.

The gas range begins with the CLA 180, powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill rated at 134 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. The base model hits 62 mph in 9.4 seconds and tops out at 134 mph. Next up is the CLA 200, motivated by the same four-pot, but rated at 161 horses and 184 pound-feet. This trim will take you to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds and to a top speed of 142 mph

The CLA 220, powered by a slightly different 2.0-liter four-banger, comes with 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet on tap. Charging to 62 mph takes exactly seven seconds, while top speed increases to 150 mph. Unlike the CLA 180 and CLA 200, the CLA 220 is also available with a 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. While a tenth-second quicker, the AWD model has a slightly lower top speed at 147. The CLA 250, also available with AWD, delivers 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It hits 62 mph in 6.3 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155 mph.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior
- image 827394
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake - gasoline lineup
Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250
Number of cylinders/arrangement 4/in-line, 4 valves per cylinder 4/in-line, 4 valves per cylinder 4/in-line, 4 valves per cylinder 4/in-line, 4 valves per cylinder
Displacement cc 1332 1332 1991 1991
Bore x stroke mm 72.2 x 81.4 72.2 x 81.4 83.0 x 92.0 83.0 x 92.0
Rated output hp 136  @ 5,500 RPM 161 @ 5,500 RPM 188 @ 5,500-6,100 RPM 221 @ 5,500 RPM
Rated torque lb-ft 148 @ 1,460-4,000 rpm 184 @ 1,620 RPM 221 @ 1,800-4,000 RPM 258 @ 1,800-4,000 RPM
Acceleration 0-100 km/h s 9.6 8.5 7.1 6.4
Top speed km/h 215 229 240 250

Next up we have the AMG-prepped models. There’s the AMG CLA35, an AWD model, with 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It hits 62 mph in an impressive 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. More power comes with the AMG CLA45 4Matic, which features a different four-cylinder that cranks out a solid 382 horses and 354 pound-feet. The sprint to 62 mph drops to 4.1 seconds, while top speed remains the same at 155 mph. However, it can hit 168 mph with an optional performance package. Finally, the AMG CLA45 S 4Matic+ comes with 420 horsepower and 369 pound-feet on tap. At full blast, it hits 62 mph in four seconds flat and tops out at 155 or 168 mph.

Mercedes-AMG CLA Shooting Brake lineup
Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Shooting Brake Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC+ Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+
Engine 2.0L Inline-4 turbo 2.0-litre 4 in-line with roller bearing twinscroll turbocharger 2.0-litre 4 in-line with roller bearing twinscroll turbocharger
Displacement 1991 cc 1991 cc 1991 cc
Max. output 302 hp at 5800 rpm 387 hp at 6500 rpm 421 hp at 6750 rpm
Peak torque 295 lb-ft at 3000-4000 rpm 354 lb-ft at 4750-5000 rpm 369 lb-ft @ 5000-5250 rpm
Drive system AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel drive with AMG TORQUE CONTROL AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel drive with AMG TORQUE CONTROL
Transmission AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed Transmission AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G dual-clutch transmission AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G dual-clutch transmission
Acceleration 0-60 mph 4.6 s (est) 4.0 s 3.9 s
Top speed 155 mph 155 mph 168 mph

If you’re a fan of oil burners, you have three options to choose from. The base model, called the CLA 180d features a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 114 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. It’s not particularly quick to 62 mph with a 10.7-second benchmark and it hits a top speed of 127 mph. The CLA 200d features a larger, 2.0-liter four-banger and output increases to 148 horses and 236 pound-feet. The sprint to 62 mph takes 8.3 seconds, while top speed increases to 140 mph. The range-topping diesel, the CLA 220d, comes with 188 horsepower and 295 pound-feet on tap. This is the fastest version with a 0-to-62 mph sprint of 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 152 mph.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior
- image 827385
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake - diesel lineup
Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 d Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 d Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 d
Number of cylinders/arrangement 4/in-line, 2 valves per cylinder 4/in-line, 2 valves per cylinder 4/in-line, 2 valves per cylinder
Displacement 1461 cc 1950 cc 1950 cc
Rated output 114 hp at 4000 rpm 148 hp at 3400-4400 rpm 188 hp at 3800 rpm
Rated torque 192 lb-ft at 1750–2500 rpm 236 lb-ft at 1400-3200 rpm 295 lb-ft at 1600-2600 rpm
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 10.7 s 8.3 s 7.1 s
Top speed 203 km/h 221 km/h 237 km/h

As far as transmissions go, the CLA 180 and CLA 200 are available with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic. The CLA 220 and CLA 250 are restricted to the seven-speed automatic, while the CLA35 AMG features an AMG-tuned seven-speed. The CLA45 models come with an eight-speed automatic. The CLA 180d is sold with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic, while the CLA 200d and CLA 220d are offered with the eight-speed automatic only.

The standard suspension setup includes a decoupled multi-link axle in the rear, a Direct-Steer system, hydromounts in the front, and a stabilizer bar with a larger diameter for reduced body roll. Again, it’s virtually identical to the A-Class, but reworked to better suit the longer body and heavier. Options include an active damping suspension that will enable you to switch between comfort or sportier settings.

Safety

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior
- image 827399

Just like the CLA, the CLA Shooting Brake shares its safety features with the latest A-Class. As a result, it’s packed with state-of-the-art technology, some of which is borrowed from larger models like the S-Class.

The big highlight of the safety package is the semi-autonomous system. Using a camera and radar system, it keeps a close eye on the traffic and "sees" up to 0.3 miles ahead. It also uses map and navigation data to activate its assistance functions, while Active Distance Assist Distronic adjusts the speed when approaching bends or roundabouts.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior
- image 827386

Standard features include Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, and Active Brake Assist. The latter helps reduce or prevent rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead and with crossing pedestrians and cyclists. Pre-Safe Plus, borrowed from the bigger Mercedes models, has the ability to recognize an imminent rear-end collision with a vehicle coming from behind.

As far as passive safety features, the CLA Shooting Brake is equipped with three-point seat belts with belt force limiter and belt tensioner in the front, driver and front passenger airbags, a driver’s kneebag, and side window airbags as standard. Thorax-pelvis sidebags are standard in the front and available as optional equipment for the rear passenger compartment.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Prices

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior
- image 827382

The CLA Shooting Brake is not available in North America, but you can buy it in every country in Europe. In the United Kingdom, where station wagons are still relatively popular, the Shooting Brake starts from £32,280. For this price, you get the base CLA 180 model. Compared to the four-door coupe, the Shooting Brake carries a minor £1,000 premium.

Opt for the CLA 200 trim and pricing jumps to £33,830. The CLA 250 comes in at £35,370, while the CLA 220d retails from £36,480. Next up is the AMG CLA35, priced from £40,970, while the AMG CLA45 S retails from £53,470.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Competition

Kia Proceed

2019 Kia ProCeed Exterior
- image 795251

With no shooting brakes available in the premium segment, we need to compare the CLA with vehicles from the more affordable classes. Not that there are many shooting brakes to choose from here, but the Kia Proceed almost looks like one thanks to its sleek rear roof section. The Proceed is a bit smaller than the CLA, but the discrepancy is rather negligible. Specifically, the Proceed is 83 mm (3.26 inches) shorter and 30 mm (1.2 inches) narrower. Launched in 2018, the current Proceed still looks fresh. And although it’s not a premium vehicle, the upper trim have what it takes to compete with the CLA Shooting Brake. The interior design isn’t bad either. The trunk takes up to 594 liters (21 cubic feet) of luggage behind the rear seats, which is an extra 89 liters (3.1 cubic feet) compared to the CLA. As far as drivetrains go, the Proceed is a bit underpowered. The base 1.0-liter engine delivers only 120 horsepower and 127 pound-feet, while the 1.4-liter mill cranks out 140 horses and 178 pound-feet. But Kia offers a 1.6-liter with 204 horsepower and 195 pound-feet, basically the only engine that makes it worthy of a face-off with the CLA. Diesel options include a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 136 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of twist. The Proceed starts from £24,290, but the range-topping model comes in at £29,090 before options.

Read our full story on the 2020 Kia Proceed

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior Exterior
- image 769383

Yes, the C-Class Estate features a boxier design and it’s marginally bigger, but there is a certain degree of cannibalization between the compact wagon and the CLA Shooting Brake. The Estate is based on the W205-generation C-Class, launched in 2014 and updated in 2018. It features a similar interior and technology, while the engine lineup is just as diverse and includes four- and six-cylinder engines. The range begins with the C 180 rated at 154 horsepower and goes up to the C 400 rated at 328 horses. AMG models with up to 503 horsepower are also available. The diesel lineup is restricted to the 2.1-liter four-cylinder with outputs between 168 horsepower and 295 pound-feet and 228 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. When it comes to trunk space, the C-Class Estate swallows up to 490 liters (17.3 cubic feet) behind the rear seats, and that’s actually 15 liters (0.53 cubic feet) less than the CLA. However, the compact wagon offers more room behind the first row at 1,510 liters (53.3 cubic feet), or 140 liters (4.94 cubic feet) more than the CLA. The C-Class Estate starts from £36,185, but it can cost as much as £75,458 in AMG trim.

Read our full review of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate

Conclusion

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake Exterior
- image 827396

Granted, wagons are no longer popular in most markets as people are moving toward crossovers, but the CLA Shooting Brake is a breath of fresh air. Thanks to its sleek roof and compact size, it’s more practical solution to the larger wagons and it also looks almost as sporty as a coupe. It’s the perfect choice if you want the sportiness of a four-door coupe with the practicality of a wagon. With the CLS Shooting Brake no longer on the market, the CLA Shooting Brake could become even more popular than before. Too bad that Mercedes-Benz won’t bring it to the United States.

  • Leave it
    • Not quite as practical as more traditional wagons
    • Only the performance variants are really fun to drive
    • A bit expensive
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

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