English tradition typically classifies a four-door station wagon as a “break,” while a two-door wagon – often resembling a sports coupe with a hatch grafted on for practicality – is usually deemed a “shooting brake.” Perplexed? Mercedes-Benz is ready to further your stupor, as the concept you see above – a crossover between those two worlds – is deemed a Shooting Break.
Regardless of what you decide to call it, there's little doubt that this concept leaves the stuffy ‘old world’ shooting brake neatly in the dust, replacing it with what is essentially a sneak peek of what a wagon version of the next CLS sedan could look like. Of course many of the oft-emulated CLS “four-door coupe” elements are there – the slippery arched profile; the swooping character line that runs seamlessly from front to rear; the long, taut body lines. But Mercedes has borrowed plenty of new elements to keep things fresh.
Those wide DTM-inspired rear fender haunches are pulled off the new E-Class sedan and coupe, and were also visible on the 2009 ConceptFASCINATION that debuted in Paris. That concept also lends its wagon rear to the Shooting Brake – though curiously, no mention of that term was made two years ago. The nose incorporates the pronounced ‘classic style’ grille design of the new SLS AMG supercar, also seen in Mercedes’ F800 Style concept from the 2010 Geneva Motor Show – a car also said to give an advanced look at the next-generation CLS.
More elements from that concept also carry over, but in a more production-friendly way. The LED headlamps retain their sharp profile, but are made slightly larger; the aggressive lower front fascia is carried over nearly intact, with gaping air intakes flanking the center grille. Even the scalloped sides aft of the front wheel wells are present. Recessed door handles are said to emerge at the touch of a hand, yet sadly, the reverse-hinged rear passenger doors have been dropped from the package. Twenty-inch wheels fill out the Shooting Brake’s fender arches.
Unlike the F800 Style concept, there is no fuel cell or hybrid technology lurking under the Shooting Brake concept’s hood. Instead, there sits what is said to be a forerunner to the next-generation of V-configuration Mercedes engines. Featuring spray-guided direct-injection, piezo-electric injection valves, and start-stop technology, Mercedes says its next 60-degree-angle 3.5-liter V-6 will produce 306 horsepower with 273 pound-feet of torque. The only sign of the new engine tech visible from the exterior are the twin exhaust tips integrated into the rear bumper.
Not surprisingly, the Shooting Break’s interior is awash in leather and especially wood trim. Mercedes interior designers chose silky oak for its unusual texture, and it covers the instrument panel, center stack, trim elements, and door handles. Most of the wood is used over the load area behind the second row. There, integrated aluminum loading strips protect both the flooring and luggage.
Over 107 square-feet of nappa and aniline leathers are used in the Shooting Break, covering the four individual seats, door panels, and “saddle bags.” The latter, integrated into the sides of the load area, can be used to hold small objects such as tools or toys. Meanwhile, the same leather covers the center console, which extends from the front passenger area to the rear as a single piece. A panoramic sunroof is used to keep the Shooting Brake’s interior from feeling claustrophobic – an all-too-likely byproduct of an aggressively raked roofline.
Of course, Mercedes is using the car to showcase a variety of next-gen technology that will arrive soon at a showroom near you. The Shooting Break features Mercedes' new Intelligent Light System. The dynamic headlamps incorporate 71 LED units and offer five modes: country lights, motorway lights, enhanced fog lights, active curve lights, and cornering lights as well as bi-xenon lights. The light system is scheduled to be available in production vehicles later this year.
How close the Shooting Break concept comes to portraying the production version of the next-generation CLS remains to be seen, but we’ll have live photos from the 2010 Beijing Auto Show floor to show you later this week, so stay tuned.