Practical Performer: Mercedes Benz Release New Shooting Brake version of its CLA coupe
Remember those carefree days when all you needed from a car were two seats, somewhere to throw a weekend bag and a couple of hundred horses under the bonnet? Fast forward a few years though and add in a couple of kids, a dog and the detritus of family life and that sporty little two seater has had to be relegated to the back of the garage in favour of something much more practical. But practical can be sporty too, at least that’s what Mercedes Benz have to say with the release of this new Shooting Brake version of its CLA coupe.
Mercedes-Benz introduced the first generation of the CLA Shooting Brake in 2015: a five-door, clearly a Coupé in terms of its proportions, and yet with considerable effective load space thanks to the roof which continues through to the rear and the rear door. From the striking sharknose at the front of the vehicle to the clean edge with accentuated surfaces, the design is athletic right down to the muscular rear. It’s this rear that increases the CLA Shooting Brake’s functionality offering much more space for the spontaneity of family life be it on an extended shopping spree or for sports and outdoor activities where space is required.
The new CLA Shooting Brake is also a designer car, which in the first instance is emotionally appealing on account of its proportions: a long bonnet, compact greenhouse with coupé-like windowlines, muscular shoulders over the rear wheel arch and crouched rear, which clearly shows its sports car genes. The outline of the frameless windows is identical to the outline of the Coupé’s up to the B-pillar. Behind it, the windowline runs considerably higher, which makes entering for rear passengers easier. Elongated into the rear, it tapers off into an acute angle.
Opt for the AMG model and the distinctive front end tilted forward and the elongated bonnet with striking powerdomes form dynamic style elements. The flat headlamps, the low-slung bonnet and the diamond radiator grille with the central star, mark the typical Mercedes-Benz sports car look.
The narrow two-part rear lamps and the licence plate positioned in the bumper are typical for the GT rear with a flush transition between the rear bumper and the tailgate. The rear view is dominated by the rear apron with a diffuser insert and four vertical fins, the AMG airflow break-away edge in the vehicle colour on the roof spoiler and the two round tailpipe trims on the left and right. The twopiece, narrow tail lamps and the number plate housed in the bumper make the tail end look especially wide.
From a side view, the aerodynamically optimised 18-inch light-alloy wheels in a 5-twin-spoke design (19-inch optionally available) and the dynamically sculpted side sill panels catch the eye. The outline of the frameless windows is identical to the outline of the Coupés itself up to the B-pillar. Behind it, the window line runs considerably higher, which makes entering easier for rear passengers and facilitates the larger load compartment capacity.
Buyers can style up their CLA with a number of design packages including an AMG Night Package with design features in black, such as front splitter and black chromed tailpipe trims.
Inside, just like the four-door CLA Coupé, the Shooting Brake puts its own spin on Mercedes’ current fluid design language and as per the new A class, turns the interior into a coolly designed user interface for intelligent digital technology. Frameless doors open to an interior with a high-tech ambience where quality and elegance meet fully digital displays. Characteristic features of the “35” models include sports seats with upholstery black leather.
The AMG-specific centre console in high-gloss black with standard touchpad has additional buttons that control the 3-stage ESP®, manual transmission mode and the optional AMG RIDE CONTROL adaptive damping system.
The characteristic, sporty AMG ambience is also underscored by the sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs; floor mats in black with AMG lettering and insert in a nubuck-leather look; the roof liner in black fabric and the AMG door sills in brushed stainless steel at the front with “AMG” lettering.
The three air vents are incorporated here, and their sporty turbine look appeals to the senses even without the lighting. This CLA is aimed at customers for whom, just a few years ago, Mercedes Benz was not the first thing that came to mind when they were looking to buy a car. You’ll find the interior is technology packed with intelligent interior assistants and refined voice recognition making the operation of ever more functions more natural and much simpler. Great emphasis is placed on individualisation with an increasing and diverse range of apps and services, which can be downloaded from Mercedes me depending on your own preferences.
The combination of sporty design and sophisticated details is also featured in the MBUX infotainment system with its innovative operating and display concept. MBUX creates an even closer connection between the vehicle, driver and passengers. Emotionally appealing presentations underline the clear control structure and feature brilliant maximum-resolution 3D graphics.
Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a Widescreen Cockpit and as a central element consequently emphasise the horizontal orientation of the interior design.
The customer can choose between the three AMG display styles “Classic”, “Sport” and “Supersport” for the instrument cluster. The “Supersport” mode is particularly striking with a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right of the rev counter: with a three-dimensional perspective, they reach far into the background to an artificial horizon.
All that extra space doesn’t compromise the car’s sporting characteristics as, along with the CLA Coupé, the CLA Shooting Brake features a wider track and which offers a lower centre of gravity. The top-of-the range engine will be the agile high-torque 2.0-litre four-cylinder which delivers 306 hp, variably distributed to the front and rear axle via the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and the AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive resulting in powerful acceleration of 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds.