Didn't get invited to the Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake junket? Don't worry, an intrepid platoon of UK car journos have provided a wide range of near-simultaneous first drive reports. The insta-verdict on the £53-84,000 luxury station wagon: "Unsurprisingly, it feels like a well appointed luxury estate on the inside." You don't say.
First thing in the morning, when the shadows are raking across some scenic European backroad, it's Autocar behind the wheel of the standard-issue CLS 350CDI, which, in maroon, and in profile, does actually look a bit like a Honda CR-V or a Crosstour. And I'm not saying that because I was apparently uninvited from a Mercedes junket once, but because it's true.
Not going on the junket also means not being obligated to buy into Mercedes' marketing lingo. This is a shooting brake in the same way the CLS is a coupe, or the way the R-Class isn't a minivan. It is a station wagon for people who won't buy a wagon.
And specifically, people, people who are men, who won't buy the E-Class wagon. And I say this as an E-Class owner, and just two days after congratulating a guy at the gas pump next to me on 10th Avenue for debadging his AMG E63 Wagon [which had a car seat base in the back seat]. Yet no matter how undeniably awesome it is, the E-Class wagon, with its utilitarian image, is basically a mom car.
Which is a fine point to mention the wagon that's brought us all here today: the AMG CLS63 Shooting Brake. Which has a 557hp twin turbo V-8 shoehorned in there, and which Chris Harris [below] calls "reasonably spectacular."
One clue of the CLS's wagon positioning is that it has five actual seats. Well, maybe 4.8, but it definitely rounds up, and is a practical improvement compared to the OG CLS's 4.0. And the idea of filling it with kids was so stuck in my head that I had to listen twice to realize that Harris did not say the optional Bang & Olufsen subwoofer would "rattle your fillies whenever you want to." He said "fillings."
So this is basically an insane dadmobile, and even though it's not being imported to the US, the CLS Shooting Brake should be similar enough to the US models that a diehard wagon fan could get one through the EPA/DOT exemption/certification process. The 350CDI even gets 47mpg.
And so the only reason they don't have one, you can helpfully remind them, is because they are smack-talking fantasists, and also they are too poor.
First Drive Review: Mercedes 350 CDI Shooting Brake [autocar.co.uk]
First Drive Review: Mercedes Benz CLS63 Shooting Brake [autocar.co.uk]
AMG CLS 63 Shooting Brake. Niche Car Porn - CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS [youtube via jalopnik, thanks dt reader and wagonpr0n aficionado ryan]
Previously: Mit ISOFIX! The CLS Shooting Brake has LATCH