In October 2004 Mercedes-Benz claims it established a new market segment with the four-door Coupe CLS, or you could say it diluted the sense of a coupe forever. In September 2008, the brand revealed the coupe-based Fascination concept car.
And now, making its premiere at Auto China 2010, is the Shooting Break concept. Mercedes designers are presenting a possible future development of the Coupe concept. The Shooting Break concept dates back to the horse and cart, but was popularized in Britain in the '50s and '60s with coachbuilt customizations of existing platforms. In the '70s, Jaguar and Aston Martin spinoffs elongated their coupe sports cars into low, sleek wagons.
Wide and flat, with a long hood and roofline, the Mercedes Shooting Break concept features some interesting proportions, which are clearly reminiscent of the CLS. The design of the front is similar to the SLS AMG sports car: the radiator grille, with the large star and eye-catching, bionic slats, is not integrated into the hood but was designed separately as a "soft nose". The grille is flanked on each side by LED headlamps, which feature LED technology for all the dynamic light functions. The side profile has an exaggerated beltline sweeping towards the rear, and the dramatic character line is supported by the powerful rear fenders. The coupe-like profile is also emphasized with a low window design highlighting the greenhouse with polished aluminum trim.
The interior is dominated by natural wood and leather. One eye-catching feature is the full-length center console. It highlights the four- seat layout as well as the high levels of comfort afforded by the Shooting Break concept. The wooden floor of the luggage compartment reflects the interpretation of this area of the vehicle, where the dark-stained oak contrasts against inlaid aluminum loading strips.
The Shooting Break concept car is driven by the forerunner to the forthcoming new V-engine generation from Mercedes-Benz. The V6 benefits from a 60? cylinder angle and a displacement of 3.5 liters, and featrues direct injection enabling lean-burn operation. It produces 306hp with a maximum torque of 273 lb-ft and sets new standards for fuel consumption.
A special feature of the Shooting Break is the recessed, filigree door handles. Thanks to sensors, they emerge only when touched to allow access to the interior. The twin pipe exhaust system, with two polished tailpipes, is integrated into the rear bumper, which features an elegantly curved wing. Also contributing to the special appearance of the Shooting Break concept car is the exceptional paint finish. A satin-finish clearcoat has been used, which gives the vehicle's allanite grey magno color a unique glint.
The sporty look is complemented with large 20-inch sterling silver wheels, featuring a special bionically arranged five-spoke filigree design. They allow a glimpse of the large brake discs behind. The front wheels are fitted with 255/30 ZR20 tires, while the rear sits on 285/25 ZR20s.
A large panoramic glass sunroof provides a glimpse into the high-quality, perfectly hand-crafted interior of the Shooting Break concept car, where natural materials such as wood and leather dominate. Wood is used on the trim elements and door pulls, the instrument panel and centre console, and primarily on the luggage compartment floor in the rear. When it came to choosing the wood, the interior designers opted for silky oak on account of its unusual, lens-shaped texture. The wooden floor in the luggage compartment has inlaid aluminium protective loading strips, and is reminiscent of finishes normally seen in yacht building.
Four saddle bags along the sides of the luggage compartment are useful for storing small tools. They are finished in leather: in fact, almost ten square meters of leather have been incorporated into the interior. Light sections of porcelain-coloured nappa leather form an attractive contrast to the dark-brown natural-colored aniline leather and perforated metallic-silver finish seat cushions and door center panels. Extensive double-lapped stitching and discerning color-coordinated upholstery seat piping reflect the hand-crafted perfection and attention to detail, as does the tuck stitching on the instrument panel, door sill covers and seat backrests, all of which highlights the contours of the components.
While the exterior trim is polished to a high-sheen, the interior features a matte finish. A total of seven manual processes are necessary - from grinding to polishing - to transform the components, which are milled from aluminum, into their final form.
The matt finish of the interior trim has also served as inspiration for the metallic-silver leather on the seats, door panels and bags in the luggage compartment. The deep-pile carpet in the footwell - finished in porcelain color - is a luxurious material used by Maybach-Manufaktur. The light-colored headlining is made of silk cloth.
The Shooting Break concept is a four-seater. The four identical leather seats have a touch of the sports car about them, thanks to their integrated head restraints. Openings in the upper area of the backrests make it possible to see through the seats. A full-length wood console on the transmission tunnel provides a divide between driver and front passenger and, at the same time, gives the occupants two large leather-covered armrests. It also houses two cupholders as well as controls for the rear-compartment air conditioning. The center console is finished at the rear with inlaid work: curved Mercedes lettering harks back to the 1920s. The striking cursive-script is also repeated on the front door sills.
Since the central screen has been integrated into the upper part of the instrument panel, the cockpit has a "wrap-around" effect. The elegant details of the exterior are captured in the dynamic wave-design of the air vents in the instrument panel. An analogue clock sits in the centre.
The instrument cluster comprises three tubes for dial-type gauges as well as a color display for service indications.
The new V6 features spray-guided direct injection engine with the latest generation of piezo-electric injection valves to enable multiple injections. Better lean operation is possible thanks to load monitoring. There is also a start/stop function.