Like the Coupe the Shooting Brake handles tidily enough, with reasonable grip levels and a decent amount of agility. It is however fine rather than fun; the steering is numb, body control loose at times and at no point would you call it entertaining. Although it might not have a handy hatchback, a BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is more enjoyable to drive.
The ride is at least comfortable for the most part, with a relaxed gait on the motorway. Churned up country roads do reveal a slightly bouncy, under-damped nature that introduces a surprising amount of head toss for such a low car. An M Sport equipped 2 Series Gran Coupe is undoubtedly firmer, but controls its body movements far more adroitly, especially over longer stretches of patchy tarmac.
Front space is unchanged over the regular CLA so there’s plenty of head and leg room on offer. Even base AMG Line Shooting Brakes get a big 10.3in touchscreen for infotainment that can also be controlled via touchpads on the steering wheel and between the seats. These can be fiddly at first, but you can control a surprising amount from the steering wheel once you get used to it. BMW’s iDrive is easier to get to grips with and navigate, though. The interior looks flashy and has some nice materials, but it’s a bit flimsy in places, unlike the higher quality 2 Series Gran Coupe.
Move to the rear, and you’ll find a little bit more head room than the regular CLA but no more leg room. You certainly wouldn’t call space generous, but at least taller adults won’t be wedged against the roof as they often are in other compact four-door coupes.
Of course, the boot is a fair bit bigger than the CLA Coupe. Indeed, at 505 litres, it actually has a greater capacity than the more expensive C-Class estate. Unfortunately, the shapely rear lights cut into the tailgate leaving you with a narrow, high aperture with a big loading lip to hump luggage over.