When is a wagon not a wagon? When it's a shooting brake. Or in this case, the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Break concept. And no, that's not a spelling mistake. Historically, huntsmen would break in a horse by hitching it to a (real) wagon, then go off shooting game. Or people, if they were Dick Cheney's ancestors. But hence the use of "break" over "brake."
Semantics shouldn't distract us from one glaring fact: The CLS has a new nose, very much like that of the SLS gullwing coupe. There's a good reason for this. The Shooting Break gives us a clue as to what the production version of the next-generation CLS will look like. At least from the B-pillars forward.
Aft of the B-pillars is a sloping roof, like the sedan we're familiar with. That roof incorporates a panoramic glass panel. Inside the cabin is pale, soft nappa leather-over 30 square feet of it-with double stitching. There are four leather saddlebags. Contrast those with the dark-stained oak floor of the luggage compartment, itself sporting protective aluminum strips. Very shooting brake-like. Sorry, break.
Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 that's good for 306 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. A new fuel injection system and a stop/start function will contrive to improve consumption and emissions by around 25 percent. Benz doesn't state any transmission, but a good guess would be the company's seven-speed auto. And the new CLS will have other engine options when it comes out. Although there's no info on that yet.
Will this four-seater ever make its way into production? It's doubtful. M-B pulled an almost identical trick when it produced the Fascination concept back in 2008. That car raised the curtain on the current E-Class's foremost quarters. But so far, there's been nothing like it in the showrooms.