Mercedes Benz has unveiled the CLS Shooting Brake in the UK on the eve of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed. In terms of its proportions, the new CLS is quite clearly a coupe, but with five doors and a roof which continues through to the rear, it promises some remarkable new possibilities.
The idea of the four-door coupe - successfully introduced in 2004 with the first CLS and long imitated in the meantime - has now been taken to new heights and to innovative effect. The result is automotive independence at its most beautiful.
According to CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche: "Any memorable machine is equal parts art and science. A car has to first deliver in function - the ticket of entry - and then in fascination: the ticket to real excitement. The CLS Shooting Brake excels on both accounts - unlike any other car in the market."
The proportions of the CLS Shooting Brake are surprising but clearly those of a coupe, and create a basic stance which makes it look ready for the off: the long bonnet, narrow-look windows with frameless side windows, and dynamic roof sloping back towards the rear. It is only when taking a second look that it becomes clear that the Shooting Break actually has five doors and offers "more" in terms of function.
In essence it represents an unprecedented version of a sports car with five seats and a large tailgate. It is a special proposition for people looking to differentiate themselves from the mainstream, and who do not wish to compromise on either sportiness or stowage space when it comes to travelling in style. The Shooting Brake is a further highlight in the innovative luxury vehicle series from Mercedes-Benz and, like the CLS Coupe, has the potential to become the role model for a new market segment.
Mercedes Benz Head of Design Gorden Wagener explains: "The CLS Shooting Brake is based on the great tradition of stylish sportiness which has always characterised Mercedes, and takes these unique icons an exciting step further. It stands for the enhanced design idiom of Mercedes-Benz which is oriented towards aesthetic, avant-garde principles."
This is seen in the impressive series of market-defining new vehicle concepts, such as the SLK for example, which in 1996 established a genre as the first Roadster with a retractable steel roof, the M-Class as the first premium SUV in 1998, or the first four-door CLS Coupe in 2004.
However, there is no clue if the German premium carmaker will bring the CLS Shooting Brake to India. The car is expected to have a price of about £83,000 (around Rs 80 lakhs) when launched in Europe.