Give this a shot
Would you really rather an SUV than the Shooting Brake?
CHIEF REPORTER IN a world dominated by hulking SUV family haulers, Mercedes-Benz bucks the trend with its CLS Shooting Brake.
The smooth new wagon puts style way ahead of space, almost daring luxury-class buyers to give it a try.
Some are already converts. The first 12 Brakes en route to Australia are pre-sold, even though their owners have no idea of the final price.
It’s likely to be at least $170,000, although Mercedes- Benz Australia gives no hints before the car’s local launch at the Australian International Motor Show next month.
But we don’t have to wait for Sydney to get the other details on the Shooting Brake, including a Carsguide first drive that shows— not surprisingly — that it goes the same as the CLS coupe.
Mercedes-Benz believes it is setting a new trend that others — perhaps even Porsche with a Panamera wagon at the Paris show— will follow.
‘‘ People want something different. The Shooting Brake satisfies that,’’ says CLS design chief Uwe Haller.
Even without pricing— although the basic Shooting Brake costs an extra $2000 over the CLS coupe in Europe — it’s clear people in Australia want the car. They will probably be happy to pay an extra $10,000.
The CLS four-door starts at $164,070. A target of 100-150 Shooting Brakes— around the same number as E-Class wagon
deliveries each year in Australia— is not outrageous. That’s way, way fewer than Benz’s SUV deliveries in Australia, but no matter what you call a wagon— and we have everything from a Commodore Sportswagons to Audi Avants— they are nowhere as popular now as they were in the past.
The value deal for the CLS looks a little better when you know that it can (just) fit five people in the cabin, but the gorgeous wooden loading deck in the press preview cars, which looks more like it belongs on a luxury boat than in a car, is going to put an extra $4000 on the bill. The Shooting Brake lineup for Australia will be a
250 diesel, a 350 petrol and theAMG 6.3 V8 flagship.
The Shooting Brake is mechanically identical to the CLS coupe, from engine outputs on the three models through to the seven-speed automatic gearbox, suspension design and braking systems.
It’s a predictable path for any wagon, although the Brake does pick up a split-fold rear seat that’s missing from the four-door model, and it comes with a power-operated tailgate.
This is what it’s all about. Style, design, flair and the look-at-me factor. Benz knew it was taking a safe road after the success of its two motor show tasters— the Concept Fascination and Concept Shooting Brake— and the only real change is that it comes with four side doors and not two. It picks up the chunky nose of the second-
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