Mercedes will crown its range of small A-class based cars next year with this: the CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake. That’s right: just as the CLS ‘four-door coupe’ spawned a svelte ‘Shooting Brake’ Estate, the smaller CLA is to pull the same trick. Meet the 355bhp range-topper.
Why is Mercedes building a CLA Shooting Brake?
Soon after the current A-class launched in 2012, Mercedes CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche confirmed that five models would eventually be spun off the car’s ‘MFA’ platform, a scalable architecture capable of underpinning several different cars.
Since then, Mercedes has been true to its word, launching the taller, bluffer B-class MPV; sleeker, coupe-aping CLA; and recently, the GLA crossover. Now Mercedes is gearing up for MFA’s fifth and final act (notwithstanding the British-built Infiniti Q30 hatch it’ll also support): the estate-bodied CLA Shooting Brake.
Unlike the forthcoming C-class Estate, the CLA Shooting Brake displays a curvier, more ‘look-at-me’ profile. Underneath, it will stick with a range of four-cylinder engines with a choice of front-or all-wheel drive.
What gives this car away as AMG’s CLA Shooting Brake?
Up front, there’s dark plastic trim around the air intakes and front splitter. Upgraded four-piston brakes lurk behind AMG alloys, wrapped in low-profile rubber. AMG-spec ride height and side skirts can be seen in these images, while the rear shows us box-section tailpipe outlets, rear wheelarch ‘vents’ and a subtle diffuser-style rear bumper.
What’ll the engine specification be for the AMG version?
The MFA platform allows drivetrains to be copy-pasted wholesale between cars – hence the A-class, CLA and GLA all share engine and gearbox combinations. The CLA45 AMG Shooting Brake is almost certain to use a 355bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as standard.
As with the A45 AMG and CLA45 AMG, the ‘4Matic’ drivetrain should allow the car to run around as a front-driver most of the time (cutting friction and saving fuel), before sending up to 50% of power to the rear axle when 332lb ft overcomes the fronts.
Should be quick, then?
Too right. The existing CLA45 AMG is a very fast little car, managing 0-62 mph in 4.6sec and 155mph flat out. Despite the pace, Mercedes claims the 2.0-litre engine can return up to 40.9mpg.
When can I buy this CLA Shooting Brake niche-buster?
Word is the CLA Shooting Brake will officially join the Mercedes range in early 2015. A small price premium will pitch the Shooting Brake above the CLA in the Mercedes hierarchy. Reckon on this ultimate AMG model costing from around £45,000.
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