If you find the compromises on cabin practicality that the CLS saloon imposes a little too much to put up with, the Shooting Brake probably won’t win you over. That said, you’re likely to be in the minority. Two of our testers are more than 6ft 3in tall, but only one complained about limited space. And that complaint wasn’t the result of restricted cabin space; it was more about the rather tight door apertures.

The CLS remains if not generously accommodating then roomy enough. Unless you’re very tall indeed, you’ll find just enough headroom in the front and a little more of it in the back than there is in the CLS four-door.

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Mercedes' column-mounted gear selector feels cheap compared to the space-age dials and wands offered by rivals

The driving position is low, and dropping your backside down into it takes a little more care than in most executive wagons on account of the proximity of the pillars. But once you’re in, you’ll find that this is a cabin with so much else going for it. The high fascia and equally high waistline of the car act to cocoon you in what’s a very lavish, luxurious, immaculately hewn cockpit. Quality levels are excellent. And it’s beautifully lit. The optional ambient lighting adds real class after dark, and the footwell lamps for the back seats make it easy to spot items that have tumbled from pockets or bags.

How much space has the roofline extension added? You might be surprised. Although it’s relatively narrow and shallow, the boot is very long up to the rear seatbacks. Mercedes claims that, seats up, there’s more space than in an A6 Avant or 5-series Touring. We can believe it.

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

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