Mercedes calls the Shooting Brake a special proposition for a special type of customer, one who does not wish to forgo sportiness or luggage space while travelling in style. That statement, and the model’s inflated price, would suggest that the CLS has been compressed into an even smaller niche, but this is a discreetly rewarding grand tourer.

Granted, there are compromises. That slenderised rear is no substitute for a squarer estate back end on outright practicality, and there are quicker, more compelling driver options for less money. But familiar strengths – including its interior class, refinement, amiably effective dynamic and idiosyncratic presence – stand this car well apart. For some, that voguish distance will be insurmountable. As for our affections, they stop short of real fondness. To truly appreciate the Shooting Brake, you probably need to fall in love with its eccentricity long before you drive it.

Matt Saunders

Deputy road test editor
The CLS Shooting Brake trades heavily on core Mercedes strengths, namely class and refinement

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

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

    BMW 5 Series

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

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class

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

    Audi A6

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

    Lexus GS


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    1 December 2015
    Bentley's big seller has a facelift for 2015 and we've driven it on UK roads for the first time in twin-turbocharged 4.0 V8 form. Is it still the pick of the range?
  • First Drive
    27 November 2015
    We try the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol version of the Golf Bluemotion. If you're not doing mega miles, it's a better bet than the diesel
  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG A45
    First Drive
    27 November 2015
    Mercedes couldn't let the Audi RS3 get away with having more power than its AMG A45. As part of a wholesale A-Class facelift, it now has 376bhp and a host of other revisions
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?