Mercedes-Benz is preparing a rival to the BMW 5-series GT and forthcoming Audi A7 with an estate version of the second-generation CLS.
The new four-door, alluded to by the 2008 ConceptFascination, is among a throng of new niche market models under consideration by Mercedes-Benz board members in recent months as the firm looks to improve its margins through the addition of a greater number of models off common platform structures.
“We’re seeking to improve our returns by better utilisation of existing platforms,” a source revealed to Autocar when questioned about the new car.
Like the new CLS saloon due in the UK later this year, the estate will be based on a lightly modified E-class. The two will share styling up to the trailing edge of the front doors but the estate will have a heavily sloping roofline and angled tailgate similar to the ConceptFascination’s.
Codenamed X218, the CLS estate will be built alongside the CLS saloon at Mercedes’ Sindelfingen plant in Germany from early 2012.
Engines will include a range of new V6 and V8s which will be revealed in June when they are launched in the facelifted CL. Known as 'MoVe Generation' engines, they are said to be good for a 25 per cent reduction in fuel consumption over Mercedes' current V6 and V8 powerplants thanks to turbocharging and direct injection.
Stuttgart insiders have revealed that plans for a CLS estate have existed since the CLS was launched in 2004.
“We built a one-off model that was originally slated to be shown in concept car form at the 2003 Frankfurt motor show,” said Mercedes source, “but it was pulled at the last minute and replaced by a lightly veiled version of the production CLS.”