The new car sits on the same mechanical base as the CLS saloon and shares the same heavily sculptured styling through to its substantial B-pillars, including its signature frameless doors.
From the B-pillars aft, it receives a unique roof that slopes back at a more acute angle than any existing Mercedes estate. The rear door retains the same outer skin but receives reshaped glass and, in a measure to extend the car visually, there is an additional rear side window that serves to extend the glasshouse all the way back to the rear lights.
An angled rear window with rounded corners forms part of a shallow, automatically operating tailgate that opens to reveal a flat-floored boot.
Dimensionally, there are only minor differences between the CLS saloon and Shooting Brake. The length has extended by 16mm to 4956mm, width remains the same at 1881mm and height drops by 2mm to 1413mm. Both variants share the same 2875mm wheelbase as well as 1595mm front and 1625mm rear track widths.
Despite its distinctly sporting profile, the CLS Shooting Brake manages to pack an impressive 590 litres beneath its rear luggage cover. This is nowhere near the amount of space provided by the E-class estate, which possesses a sizeable 695 litres.
However, it is an impressive 25 litres more than Audi claims for the A6 Avant and 30 litres more than the BMW 5-series Touring offers. With the rear seats folded down, the CLS Shooting Brake’s overall luggage capacity increases to a class-competitive 1550 litres.
The CLS Shooting Brake shares its interior with the CLS saloon. Among the changes made to accommodate its reworked layout is a new three-abreast rear seat with back rests that can be folded down from the rear.
The tailgate provides access to a luggage compartment whose otherwise carpeted floor can be trimmed in a combination of cherry tree wood and brushed aluminium through Mercedes’ Designo options programme. This recalls the maritime-inspired look of the original ConceptFascination show car.
The CLS Shooting Brake will be sold with a more limited range of engines than the CLS saloon. In the UK, most sales will centre around two diesels: a price-leading 201bhp turbocharged 2.1-litre four-cylinder in the CLS250 CDI model, and a 261bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 in the more comprehensively equipped CLS350 CDI variant.
They will be joined by a single petrol engine: a 518bhp twin-turbocharged 6.2-litre V8 in a yet-to-be-officially-confirmed CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake performance flagship, which is scheduled to make its world debut at the Paris motor show in September.
Two further petrol engines are available in other markets, including a 302bhp naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 in the CLS350 Shooting Brake and 402bhp twin-turbocharged 4.6-litre V8 in the CLS500. However, the high percentage of diesel sales in the UK’s upper executive estate car ranks means that they are unlikely to be sold here.
Mercedes’s new sporting estate will come as standard with an in-house-produced seven-speed automatic transmission with three modes of operation: eco, sport and manual. Also included are contemporary fuel-saving functions, such as automatic stop-start, brake-energy recuperation and on-demand operation of the engine ancillaries.
The range-topping AMG model uses a seven-speed MCT (multi-clutch transmission) — essentially, a reworked version of the automatic, with an automatic clutch in place of the traditional torque converter for more rapid shifts.
Although Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel drive system is available as an option on the CLS350 CDI and CLS500 Shooting Brake models in selected left-hand-drive markets, it won’t be offered in the UK because of what one official described to Autocar as “the prohibitively high cost of engineering the drive shaft to suit right-hand drive”.
The rear-wheel-drive CLS250 CDI bound for the UK is said to hit 62mph from rest in 7.8sec and reach a top speed of 146mph. Its claimed combined fuel economy is 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions are 139g/km. The CLS350 CDI Shooting Brake covers the 0-62mph dash in a claimed 6.6sec and is restricted to 155mph. It returns a claimed combined 47.1mpg and emits 159g/km of CO2.
With only a modest weight gain over the 1795kg CLS63 AMG saloon, the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake should achieve a 0-62mph time of about 4.5sec and will be electronically limited to 155mph.
The CLS Shooting Brake will be produced alongside the CLS saloon at Mercedes-Benz’s main Sindelfingen manufacturing facilities, near Stuttgart.