If you find the compromises on cabin practicality that the CLS saloon imposes a little too much to put up with, the Shooting Brake probably won’t win you over. That said, you’re likely to be in the minority. Two of our testers are more than 6ft 3in tall, but only one complained about limited space. And that complaint wasn’t the result of restricted cabin space; it was more about the rather tight door apertures.
The CLS remains if not generously accommodating then roomy enough. Unless you’re very tall indeed, you’ll find just enough headroom in the front and a little more of it in the back than there is in the CLS four-door.
The driving position is low, and dropping your backside down into it takes a little more care than in most executive wagons on account of the proximity of the pillars. But once you’re in, you’ll find that this is a cabin with so much else going for it. The high fascia and equally high waistline of the car act to cocoon you in what’s a very lavish, luxurious, immaculately hewn cockpit. Quality levels are excellent. And it’s beautifully lit. The optional ambient lighting adds real class after dark, and the footwell lamps for the back seats make it easy to spot items that have tumbled from pockets or bags.
How much space has the roofline extension added? You might be surprised. Although it’s relatively narrow and shallow, the boot is very long up to the rear seatbacks. Mercedes claims that, seats up, there’s more space than in an A6 Avant or 5 Series Touring. We can believe it.
As for the standard equipment, there is one trim level - AMG Line. It adorns the CLS Shooting Brake with 19in alloy wheels, sports-tuned suspension, LED headlights, an aggressive bodykit and an automatic powered tailgate on the outside as standard, while inside there is DAB radio, LED ambient lighting, heated front sports seats, and Mercedes' Comand infotainment system.
If you think the diesels aren't fast enough, then there is Mercedes-AMG 577bhp CLS 63 S Shooting Brake, which adds folding mirrors, electrically adjustable front seats, keyless entry and go, a reversing camera and climate control, alongside all the AMG-styled drama you would expect such as red brake calipers, AMG decals and details, a sports exhaust system and a beefy bodykit.