Mercedes is this week – volcanic ash cloud notwithstanding – due to unveil this new Shooting Break concept car at the 2010 Beijing auto show. It's a barely disguised show version of a sporting CLS estate. Think a Mercedes wagon for picky types who find the E-class Estate a tad too sensible.
Stuttgart is being unusually candid about this car's provenance, sprinkling the press kit with hints that this will join the next CLS family as a sporty, crossover coupé-estate. There's even an internal codename – X218 – hinting at its production intent. It seems to us that this Shooting Break concept is an altogether far more attractive offering than the 5-series Gran Turismo which fills a similar nano-niche in rival BMW's range.Mercedes-Benz Shooting Break concept car (2010): the lowdown
The CLS 'coupaloon' was conceived as Merc's 'Jag fighter' and has been a success story since launch in 2004. Now it's time to replace the CLS and this is our first look at the new styling direction planned for the 2011 CLS family – albeit in 20in-shod exaggerated show car form.
If this shooting break looks familiar, that's because it follows in the footsteps of the 2008 Paris show car, the Fascination concept. Look out in particular at the body surfacing and the new-look nose – the floating grille appears separate from the bonnet, and those headlamps are entirely LED (all 71 of them).
'The Shooting Break concept car is based on the great tradition of a stylish, cultivated sportiness which has always characterised the great Mercedes coupés, and it takes this unique legacy an exciting step further,' gushed Professor Gorden Wagener, chief designer at Mercedes-Benz. 'At the same time it points the way towards the future design idiom of Mercedes-Benz.'Any technical innovations on the new Merc Shooting Break?
For sure. This is the world's first car with LED front headlamps that are fully active, swivelling around corners and dipping the range in a bespoke fashion depending on your speed and road type. It's also the first time we've seen Merc's latest 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine: a 60deg V6 with direct-injection, 302bhp and 273lb ft, and a new lean-burn mode said to reduce emissions and rate of fuel guzzle.
Inside the CLS crossover has a full-length console to emphasise that this is a four-seater only. Being a concept car, the boot is lined with dark-stained oak – so you might be plucking splinters out of Fido's feet.