What is it?
Reflecting AMG’s recent sales strategy, the new Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake is set to arrive here at the same time as the rest of the CLS Shooting Brake line-up in October. It shares its twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine with its saloon sibling on sale for over a year now but adds the estate like practicality afforded by the stylish rear end, with its wide opening tailgate, impressive 590-litres of boot space, split fold rear seats and all.
In standard guise it offers up 518bhp and 516lb ft of torque. But with the optional performance package its under bonnet reserves increase by 31bhp and 74lb ft to 549bhp and a serious 590lb ft. Although there will be a four-wheel drive 4Matic model offered in certain markets, the UK receives rear-wheel drive exclusively.
What is it like?
The adoption of the swoopy estate body adds 85kg to the kerb weight over the CLS63 AMG saloon. However, it doesn’t affect performance.
Mercedes-Benz claims the same 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds. And objectively, it feels every bit as quick as this figure suggests, with superb off -the-line traction and, thanks to all that torque, considerable shove. It also sounds the business, too, emitting a deep baritone blare on a heavily loaded throttle.
But as alluring as its straight line speed may be, the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake major strength is the seemingly effortless way it cruises at high speeds. Its stability even at double the motorway limit here in the UK is exceptional. Given its performance focus, it also rides with considerably compliancy even on the optional 20-inch wheels.
Tweaks to the suspension, steering and electronic stability program also make it a memorable back road drive. There are four driving modes that allow you to tailor the car to the conditions, although sport seems to provide everything you need: taut body control, sufficient comfort and sensible electronic stability to keep things enjoyable when you do find a lonely stretch of winding bitumen.
Still, the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake isn’t quite as complete as we’d like. Our main criticism centres around its gearbox, the AMG developed MCT (multi clutch transmission). In leisurely driving when set to ECO-comfort mode it is fine, slurring the gear changes in an undisturbed fashion. But when you switch to Sport Plus mode it clearly lacks for shift speed in comparison to some of the more recent double clutch arrangements found in rival performance cars, with a noticeable delay between drawing back on the steering wheel mounted paddle and the actual swapping of cogs.
And yet, the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake remains seriously persuasive. One could point to its whopping 1880 kerb weight and suggest it is perhaps a little over the odds for a true performance car. But experience the quality, comfort and detailing of its interior, including its optional cherry wood boot floor paneling applied to our test car, and it is hard to argue against such measures.
The driving position is superb, the steering wheel perfectly proportioned and controls of suitably high quality feel. It lacks for all round vision, though. The angled tailgate creates a narrow field of view and the curvature of the C-pillars restricts over the shoulder visibility. The monitor for the navigation and entertainment systems is also comically small for a car at this end of the market.
Should I buy one?
If you’ve got the financial means and aren’t concerned with running costs, the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake is well worth a look. With so much style and performance, you’re sure to be noticed. And for many who opt for the new Mercedes-Benz, that’s all that is going to count. The truth is, this car offers more. Much more!
Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake Performance Pack
Price: £83,030; Top speed: 155mph (limited); 0-62mph: 4.3sec; Economy: 28.0mpg (combined); CO2: 235g/km; Kerb weight: 1880kg; Engine: V8, 5461cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Installation: Front, longitudinal, rear-wheel drive; Power: 549bhp at 5250rpm; Torque: 590lb ft at 2000rpm