Mercedes-Benz is set to create a whole new market segment with the style-led CLS Shooting Brake, which is described by insiders as being the first in a range of overtly sporting estate models conceived to complement the company’s more traditional load-haulers.

Although it is not yet officially confirmed, Mercedes is well advanced on a smaller and more affordable sporting estate model that will be sold as the CLA Shooting Brake. It is tentatively due to reach UK showrooms in 2014 and is likely to be priced at around £28,000.

The CLA Shooting Brake is one of five models to be based on Mercedes’s new Modular Front Architecture (MFA) platform. It has been twinned with the upcoming CLA saloon, as previewed at the Beijing motor show last April by the Concept Style Coupé show car and will offer a range of four-cylinder common-rail diesel and direct-injection petrol engines and both front and four-wheel drive.

Depicted here in a computer-generated rendering, the CLA Shooting Brake will sport the heavily sculptured exterior styling treatment and other distinctive design features of the larger CLS Shooting Brake, including its 
so-called soft nose and dramatic swage line treatment.

The styling, largely credited to Mercedes design boss Gorden Wagener, is aimed at providing the firm’s more contemporary models with an overtly avant garde look.

Heading the CLA Shooting Brake line-up will be a hot CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake. It will run the 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit that is first destined to appear in the A45 AMG hatchback in 2013 and is claimed to deliver up to 330bhp and 332lb ft of torque. With four-wheel drive 
and a three-stage ESP system as standard, the model should be good for 0-62mph in about 5.1sec and an electronically limited 155mph top speed.