What's the news?
Things are getting quite congested in Mercedes' small-car world right now. We've got a new, fourth-generation A-Class hatchback, which in turn has begat a B-Class MPV. We already know an A-Class saloon is forthcoming, too, but that hasn't stopped Mercedes admitting that the CLA will morph into a Mk2, even though it will look very similar to the A-Class saloon.
And now, the impending Geneva Motor Show brings confirmation that the CLA Shooting Brake will be reborn as this attractive creation. Available from September, the second-gen CLA Shooting Brake takes the latest CLA and A-Class front-end design and grafts on a rakish, estate-like rear end for maximum practicality. Indeed, Mercedes is keen to say that the interior of the Shooting Brake has more shoulder-, head- and elbow-room than the preceding model, while it will of course have the option of the full, show-stopping MBUX operating system.
With frameless windows and the swooping window line, the CLA Shooting Brake is a bit of a looker, while it is physically bigger on the outside in every dimension barring width including the door mirrors (its main body is actually broader than the old CLA Shooting Brake) and height, where it sits 2mm lower overall. This means, as already hinted at, that in every conceivable interior dimension measurement save one (front legroom, down 1mm), the CLA Shooting Brake Mk2 has gained plenty of additional millimetres. This includes significant improvements in the size, shape and aperture of the boot, which itself is 10 litres larger than the old cargo bay, at 505 litres in total.
Mercedes also says the CLA Shooting Brake, like the CLA it is based on, has a sportier driving feel than the regular A-Class models with which it shares so much, as the CLAs have a wider track, a lower centre of gravity and a greater proportion of variants are fitted with multilink rear suspension - as opposed to the torsion beam on more basic A-Class cars. Adaptive damping will be on the options menu, while wheels will range from 16 to 19 inches in diameter. The drag coefficient of the bodywork is 0.26, a little way above the CLA Coupe's 0.23, but still mighty respectable nonetheless.
At the moment, just one engine is confirmed for the CLA Shooting Brake, which is the 225hp/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder motor that will bring CLA 250 badging. This drives the CLA Shooting Brake's front wheels via a seven-speed 7G-DCT automatic transmission, leading to best eco-stats of 6.2 litres/100km (45.6mpg) and 143g/km of CO2 emissions. Mercedes says that, by the time it goes on sale in autumn, a 'wide range of petrol and diesel engines' will be available for the Shooting Brake, which will also be equipped with much of the high-end driver-assist technologies seen in the company's biggest and grandest models - so features such as Distronic adaptive cruise control that can automatically slow the car for corners, crossroads and roundabouts once the satnav is set.
Following its Geneva debut, production of the CLA Shooting Brake will take place in Kecskemet in Hungary, the same plant where the A-Class family is built. Britta Seeger, member of the board of management for Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars sales, says the CLA Shooting Brake is aimed at younger customers who, some years back, might not have considered a Merc as a family conveyance: "We want to address young individualists with the particularly expressive design of the CLA Coupe and CLA Shooting Brake. Furthermore, the new CLA Shooting Brake offers more space than its predecessor - for sports equipment and much more."