The Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake is trying to cover a lot of bases. Style, practicality, performance and low running costs are all in the mix as it seeks to be the ultimate mode of transport for the more discerning executive.
There’s no doubting the appeal: its five-door rakish design is arguably more pleasing than the four-door coupé and it has the added bonus of a sizeable 590-litre boot. Of course, it’s not in the same loadspace league as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate but still holds its own when compared with the BMW 5 Series GT and the E-Class saloon.
The engine range starts with the 204bhp 250 CDI 2.2-litre, which is followed by the 3.0-litre 350 CDI with 266bhp and then the outrageous 525bhp 5.5-litre CLS 63 AMG. They are all capable performers and all come with stop/start and a seven-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddles. The 250 CDI is no slouch but it can get noisy when pushed. With CO2 emissions of just 139g/km and 53.2mpg average fuel economy it’s relatively cheap to run.
Costs-wise, the 250 CDI stacks up well against its main rival, the BMW 5 Series GT.
It’s difficult to find fault with the Shooting Brake. It deals with corners effortlessly, the steering is well weighted with plenty of feel and brakes have reassuring stopping power. With comfortable, well-bolstered seating and a serene cabin, it’s perfect for long-distance cruising.
Predictably, the interior quality is top-notch. Swathes of leather can be combined with either wood or carbon-fibre and aluminium detailing to give the requisite feeling of class. If you want, you can go for a wooden loadbay floor for a yacht-like look but that doesn’t come cheap. That’s an extra £4,000, sir.
There’s two versions – the standard CLS and the AMG – and standard kit includes an infotainment system with MP3-compatible CD radio, Bluetooth, USB socket, sat-nav and DAB radio. You also get bi-xenon headlights, leather upholstery, a three-spoke leather-covered multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, climate control, parking assist and 18-inch alloys. The 350 CDI and AMG models add a sat-nav upgrade with a bigger screen, voice-activated controls, a 3D display and Google apps for local traffic information and weather.
By Tim Bowdler