Mercedes continues to expand its lineup into new niches. The movement started in 2004 with the CLS four-door coupe, and continued when the range expanded to include a shooting brake model. Now, the CLA range has followed suit, with the new compact CLA Shooting Brake, for people who want the practicality of a wagon coupled with the CLA's slick styling.
The CLA Shooting Brake features a long, wagon-style roofline that provides occupants with an extra 4 cm (1.6 in) of headroom over the CLA four-door coupe. The more practical bodystyle also allows a bigger load area – whereas the standard CLA's boot will take 470 L (16.7 cu.ft), its shooting brake cousin will hold 495 L (17.5 cu.ft). By virtue of its higher roofline, the CLA Shooting Brake's rear seats are also easier to access than those on the CLA Coupe.
To achieve the same profile as that on the CLS Shooting Brake, Mercedes' designers have given the CLA model frameless side windows and a sloping roofline, while broad "arrowhead" rear lights make the CLA seem wide and low on the road. Mercedes claims these elements, combined with the Shooting Brake's sharp creases, grant the car a unique look that sets it apart from other vehicles in related segments. This sleek styling is also extremely aerodynamic, with just a Cd of just 0.26.
Regardless of its sleek styling, the heart of the CLA Shooting Brake is a range of two diesel and three petrol engines. Fans of diesel power are treated to two different four-cylinder engines, the first of which produces 100 kW (136 hp) and 300 Nm (211 lb.ft) of torque, for CO2 emissions of 111 g/km in the CLA 200 CDI. The motor in the CLA 220 CDI is 30 kW (41 hp) more powerful than that in the entry level diesel, and produces 350 Nm (258 lb.ft) of torque for CO2 emissions of 112 g/km.
Fuel economy is also very similar between the two diesel engines, with a combined figure of 4.2 L/100 km (56 mpg) for the entry level diesel, and 4.3 lL100km (55 mpg) for the more powerful model.
Petrol power comes from a range of three different four-cylinder engines, with two 1.6-liter motors and a 2.0-liter engine making up the range. The entry-level CLA 180 is making 90 kW (122 hp) and 300 Nm of torque with a combined fuel economy figure of 6.0 L/100 km (39 mpg) and CO2 emissions of 140 g/km. Stepping up in the range to the CLA 200 gives you 115 kW (156 hp) and an extra 50 Nm of torque over the entry level car, while combined fuel consumption remains the same at 6.0 L/100 km (39 mpg). CO2 emissions figures also remain the same.
Topping the CLA Shooting Brake’s range of petrol engines is the 2.0-liter CLA 250. Available in all-wheel drive, the 250 produces 155 kW (211 hp) and 350 Nm, but doesn’t use much more fuel than its less powerful siblings, with the all-wheel drive CLA250 returning a combined fuel use figure of 6.8 L/100km (35 mpg).
If this doesn't seem like enough performance for you, Mercedes has also released the CLA45 AMG in the Shooting Brake bodystyle. Powered by the most powerful production four cylinder engine in the world, the CLA45 AMG will sprint from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.7 seconds, thanks to its 265 kW (360 hp) and 450 Nm (332 lb.ft) of torque. This power is transmitted to the road through Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, while a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox provides quick gear changes on the go. Top speed is electronically capped at 250 km/h (155 mph). Despite all its power and performance, the CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake still returns fuel economy of 6.9 L/100 km (34 mpg).
Setting the AMG's exterior apart from that of standard Shooting Brakes is taken care of by grey 18-inch alloy wheels, a more aggressive bodykit and "TURBO AMG" badging – although most people will only get a view of the rear, with its black diffuser and twin chromed tailpipes.
Inside, the CLA Shooting Brake’s interior will be familiar to anyone who has sat in an A-Class or CLA Coupe. A 7-inch screen still sits atop the dashboard, granting owners access to Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system that can be optioned with internet access. Details like the circular air vents and hooded dials carry over from the standard car.
The CLA Shooting Brake will be launched with three different styling packages: a sporty AMG Line, a more style-focused Urban package and a special OrangeArt Edition. The OrangeArt edition is being offered as a limited-run launch special and includes 18-inch AMG wheels painted black with orange highlights, special orange flourishes on the front and rear bumpers and orange interior stitching highlights.
A full range of active safety features is also available on the car, including the Collision Prevention Assist (automatic emergency braking) system, which Mercedes claims could cut rear-end collision numbers by up to 30 percent.
Mercedes has not released pricing details yet, but expect to pay a small premium over the CLA coupe, which starts at US$29,900. The car goes on sale in January 2015.