Sometimes the word ‘estate’ doesn’t quite cut it, apparently. Not content with introducing us to the concept of a four-door coupé, Mercedes-Benz is insistent about reintroducing the ‘Shooting Brake’ moniker for the five-door variant of its likeable CLS.

It’s amazing how quickly you get used to an idea. Most of us were rather taken aback when Mercedes first launched the CLS, but it slotted swiftly and easily into the range and our understanding. It came across as more dynamic than the E-class on which it is based and almost as classy as (and undoubtedly more individualistic than) an S-class. Unlike its larger sibling (as with Audi’s A6 next to the A8), the CLS doesn’t say that its driver is on his way to an airport departure lounge.

Quite what the Shooting Brake says is what we’re here to find out. Logic dictates that if you want an executive-sized Mercedes-Benz with ample room in the rear, you’d buy an E-class estate. But logic frequently works in mysterious ways, or not at all, in this sector, and sometimes what a car says about its owner is as important as what it does.

Top 5 Mid-size execs

  • The Jaguar XF is a sublime British executive saloon. It has a tremendous interior and even greater dynamics

    Jaguar XF

    1
  • Superb engine and cabin, but ride and handling let the side down

    BMW 5-series

    2
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
    The E-class more than lives up to traditional Mercedes values

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class

    3
  • Audi A6
    The Audi A6 is a car that delivers in every area

    Audi A6

    4
  • The Lexus GS is unusual in the part of the market in not offering a diesel option

    Lexus GS

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW's prototype fuel cell concept is based on the 5GT
    First Drive
    1 July 2015
    Fuel cell-powered 5 Series GT concept previews a revolutionary storage and refuelling system which could pave the way for hydrogen to become the alternative fuel of choice
  • First Drive
    1 July 2015
    There's another BMW 2 Series variant on the horizon; we drive a late-stage prototype plug-in hybrid Active Tourer
  • First Drive
    1 July 2015
    Wagon version of Skoda's cut-price limo is relaxing to drive, vast inside and great value, provided you avoid the range-topper
  • First Drive
    1 July 2015
    Hyundai's new crossover has great potential and a winning character that should have Nissan and Ford worried
  • Car review
    30 June 2015
    Expectations are high and the competition fierce. Can it deliver?