Will the midsize Shooting Brake make it into a new generation?

After six years on the market with minor changes, the Mercedes-Benz CLS was redesigned and launched in its third-gen configuration in late 2017. Now sporting a more aggressive design with features borrowed from the AMG GT sports car, the four-door coupe boasts a more upscale interior borrowed from the E-Class and introduced a brand-new engine for Mercedes-Benz. A high-performance AMG CLS63 version is sure to follow, but word has it that the German firm may not launch a new Shooting Brake model now that station wagons are no longer popular. But until Mercedes says a firm no I’m hoping that the German shooting brake will make a comeback by the end of 2018.

The CLS Shooting Brake is much newer than the four-door coupe it is based on. While the CLS broke cover back in 2004, the Shooting Brake didn’t arrive until 2012, one year after Mercedes introduced the second-generation model. So if Merc decided to axe the nameplate, the CLS Shooting Brake will die after only five years on the market. It would be a shame to lose one of the only two affordable shooting brakes (the other being the CLA) and one of the very few premium wagons still available. You can see why I’m still hoping that the second-gen CLS isn’t the end of the road for this model. We should find out more about the wagon’s future in 2018 but until that happens, let’s find out what it may bring to the market if it survives.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake.

Exterior

  • Same design as new CLS
  • More aggressive styling
  • Sporty wagon rear end
  • Unique design compared to other wagons
2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Shooting Brake model is expected to look identical to the sedan from the nose to the C-pillars

As seen in the rendering from X-Tomi Design, the Shooting Brake model is expected to look identical to the sedan from the nose to the C-pillars, just like the outgoing model. So the sporty wagon will benefit from the CLS’ redesigned features, including the unique grille that becomes wider toward the base (a feature borrowed from the AMG GT sports car), a forward-slanting nose, and a pair of aggressive looking headlamps with sharp edges. The new engine hood completely surrounded by body surfaces, the large vents in the front bumper, and the new wheels also contribute to the updated look.

Onto the sides, we can see the revised body panels that retain the traditional high, arching waistline, but also the cleaner overall design that gives the four-door a more elegant appearance. The design changes toward toward the back with a revised window layout for the rear doors, the longer, wagon-like roof, and the new quarter windows. Does it look good with the new design? Hell yeah!

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS Exterior Wallpaper quality
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It's a cool design that has just enough unique features to stand out on the market

The rendering doesn’t give us a glimpse of the rear section, but things should change significantly here, mostly due to the two-piece taillights. The new units have their inner sections placed on the trunk lid on the four-door coupe, so I’m thinking they should sit on the tailgate here. This should give the CLS Shooting Brake a look that’s more similar to station wagon versions of the C-Class and E-Class, but it probably won’t seem as exotic as its predecessor in the Mercedes lineup.

Still, it’s a cool design that has just enough unique features to stand out on the market.

Interior

  • Interior borrowed from E-Class
  • 12.3-inch displays
  • Jet aircraft-inspired A/C vents
  • Premium materials
  • Exclusive seat design
  • Extensive driver assistance package
  • Larger trunk
2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS Interior
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The interior of the upcoming Shooting Brake will also be identical to the four-door coupe

The interior of the upcoming Shooting Brake will also be identical to the four-door coupe. The latter borrows the layout from the E-Class, featuring a two-tier design dashboard with an arched lower section and a wide center console. The familiar cluster of four, in-line A/C vents occupy the center section of the lower dash, with a large infotainment screen above. But unlike the E-Class and the S-Class, these vents are shaped like jet aircraft turbines, so you do get something extra.

The 12.3 high-resolution display is reminiscent of the S-Class and it can be combined (optionally) with a similar instrument cluster. In this configuration the screens merge to form a wide-display cockpit under a shared, continuous glass cover. It basically looks like a really wide screen that stretches from the left dash corner to the center section, which is really cool. Below, the center console can be had with open-pore or high-gloss wood trim for a more premium look.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS
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The latest CLS also gained seats with an exclusive design with high-quality piping

The latest CLS also gained seats with an exclusive design that includes high-quality piping. In the back, the individual seats have been replaced by a three-seat bench for the first time, but unlike the four-door, the Shooting Brake already had this configuration because four-seat wagons don’t make much sense. Other features should include the new ambient lighting system with 64 colors, a special A/C setting that briefly changes color to show if temperature is set to make the cabin warmer (red) or cooler (blue), and three display styles for the instrument cluster.

Another new feature is the Energizing Comfort setting that links numerous comfort system to provide a suitable atmosphere. It changes setting for climate control (including fragrancing), seating functions, steering wheel, lighting, and music, with six programs to choose from: Refresh / Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort / Well-Being, and Training. The latter has three additional settings for the seat massage function: muscle relaxation, muscle activation, and balance.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS
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The biggest change compared to the regular CLS will be the larger trunk

New driver assistance system are also on the table for the Shooting Brake. The standard package includes many new features for the CLS, all borrowed from the S-Class, such as Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist, and Pre-Safe. The optional Driver Assistance Package adds Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Steering Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Pre-Safe Plus, and Pre-Safe Impulse Side. Active Distance Assist Distronic and Active Steering Assist help the driver keep a safe distance from the vehicles in front. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of bends or junctions.

The biggest change compared to the regular CLS will be the trunk, which will provide significantly more luggage room thanks to the wagon configuration. Granted, it won’t match the E-Class’ capacity due to the sloping roof, but it should provide more room than the C-Class Wagon.

Drivetrain

  • New six-cylinder engine
  • Up to 383 horsepower and 553 pound-feet
  • EQ Boost enhances fuel economy
  • Available all-wheel-drive
  • Air Body Control suspension
  • AMG models possible
2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS Exterior
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The EQ Boost provides an additional 21 horses and 184 pound-feet over short periods

The third-gen CLS was unveiled with just one engine and it’s safe to assume that it will be the first option on the Shooting Brake model too. Interestingly enough, Mercedes chose the CLS to debut a brand-new engine instead of just giving it the same units as the E-Class, with which it shares underpinnings. The engine in question is a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder that features an integrated starter/generator, called EQ Boost, which assists the combustion engine when accelerating and supplies the battery with power by means of high-efficiency recuperation. By doing so it increase fuel efficiency, basically turning the CLS into a hybrid.

EQ Boost also increases performance, enabling the six-cylinder to deliver the performance of an eight-cylinder engine. The 3.0-liter cranks out 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of twist on its own, while the EQ Boost provides an additional 21 horses and 184 pound-feet over short periods. All told, the drivetrain can deliver up to 383 horsepower and a whopping 553 pound-feet of torque in the sedan and it will do the same in the Shooting Brake model.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS Exterior
- image 748221
An all-wheel-drive version with 4Matic will also be offered

Performance ratings aren’t yet available for the sedan, but it should be the most powerful CLS model without an "AMG" badge. If the Shooting Brake becomes a production model, it will be sold as the CLS450 Shooting Brake with this engine. An all-wheel-drive version with 4Matic will also be offered.

The new CLS uses a four-link front suspension and a five-link rear suspension. A dynamically set-up steel comfort suspension is standard equipment, but the four-door coupe can be equipped with Air Body Control air suspension with adjustable and adaptive damping. The driver is able to select vehicle characteristics from comfortable to sporty using the driving mode switch.

Unlike the four-door coupe, the Shooting Brake model will get more engine options at launch, all likely to come from the E-Class. However, most of them will be offered in Europe only. AMG models with the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 will also be introduced. The CLS63 model will arrive with 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet, while the range-topping CLS63 S version will crank out 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of twist.

Prices

The current CLS Shooting Brake isn’t available in the U.S., so if Mercedes-Benz decides to build a new wagon it’s very unlikely that it will cross the pond to North America. In Germany, the outgoing Shooting Brake retails from €56,584 and it’s safe to say that pricing could increase to around €58,000 before options.

Competition

The CLS Shooting Brake competes in a niche of its own, as there are no other similar body styles based on midsize vehicles. There are a few shooting brakes available, like the Ferrari GTC4Lusso and the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato, but both of them are far too exclusive for the CLS, not to mention more powerful and significantly more expensive. The only other mass-produced shooting brake available is the CLA Shooting Brake, which is decidedly smaller. I guess we could consider the BMW 5 Series Touring and the Audi A6 Avant as competitors for the CLS Shooting Brake but with boxier rear ends and a bit more luggage room. But if you need more luggage room and want a Mercedes-Benz, it’s safer to get the E-Class Wagon. So a comparison with regular wagons doesn’t make much sense but we are still going to take a closer look at the most important German offering.

BMW 5 Series Touring

2018 BMW 5 Series Touring High Resolution Exterior
- image 709551

Unveiled for the 2018 model year, the 5 Series Touring is based on the latest midsize sedan with updated exterior design and new technology inside the cabin. While not as sleek as the CLS Shooting Brake, the 5 Series Touring is sportier than its predecessor thanks to the brand’s latest design language. The wagon is equally luxurious inside the wagon and the tech package matches that of the CLS. There’s a new iDrive infotainment system with a 10.25-inch screen, all the apps you need, a Parking Assistant feature, and an optional rear seat entertainment system. Motivation comes from four engine options. Two gasoline versions are available: the 530i with the turbo 2.0-liter rated at 252 horsepower and 258 pound-feet and the 540i with the 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 340 horses and 332 pound-feet. The other two options are diesels. The 520d comes with a 2.0-liter four-banger making 190 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, while the 530d uses a 3.0-liter inline-six that cranks out 265 horses and 457 pound-feet. Pricing for the 5 Series Touring starts from €48,600 in Germany, but getting the more powerful 540i model will set you back €63,900 before options.

Read our full review of the 2018 BMW 5 Series Touring

Conclusion

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake
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Although a wagon by modern standards, the CLS Shooting Brake is a rather exotic proposition due to its sporty roof and aggressive design. However, it’s not as exotic as a Ferrari or a McLaren. It’s not a supercar. Just a sportier wagon that feels weird simply because grocery getters are no longer popular nowadays. This is why Mercedes might not offer a shooting brake version of the third-generation CLS. Yes, at this point the car above is nothing more than a rendering and I wouldn’t hold it against Merc if its decides to skip this model and sell the four-door coupe only. It’s a tough market and the Shooting Brake might not sell enough units to become feasible. But it would be really cool to have, especially with an AMG follow-up.

  • Leave it
    • * Not yet confirmed
    • * Might not be produced due to low demand

References

Mercedes CLS

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 748197

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS.

2020 Mercedes-AMG CLS63
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLS63.

2013 - 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake High Resolution Exterior
- image 463122

Read our full review on the previous 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake.

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