Merc shoots down BMW's GT
Remember the days when an E-Class Estate was the height of elegant, family-orientated, three-pointed star motoring? Well, soon there might be a higher rung up the (non-SUV) ladder to which Merc buyers can aspire.
The company’s outstandingly elegant four-door coupe CLS is due to be replaced later in 2010.
Despite the CLS sporting Ford Falcon-like rear styling, as a package it was a call to action for a slew of rather fetching cars – among them the Aston Rapide and Porsche Panamera. BMW's GT and Audi's forthcoming A7 also took their cue from the CLS market niche.
To showcase what the second-generation CLS will look like, Merc has unveiled a stunning Shooting Break (Mercedes-Benz's spelling) concept, which should go on display at the Beijing auto show this weekend.
If you’re not familiar with upper-class British jargon you’ll probably wonder what a shooting brake is. Well, succinctly – it’s a really fancy station-wagon with some rather curvy roof architecture and only two doors.
Back in the Victorian era British aristocrats used to go shooting from a horse-drawn carriage which was open to facilitate hunting. Merc says the shooting 'break' terminology stems from a small horse drawn carriage used to break-in horses.
Whichever story you care to take up as fact, the concept of such aristocratic mobility remains with us today.
Not a traditional shooting brake, this CLS shooting break sports two additional doors.
Four-door, four-seater coupe estate
With this latest concept, Mercedes-Benz hopes to muddle the lines between traditional body style concepts even further with its next generation CLS, which should feature a Shooting Break derivative with four doors - as opposed to two - selling alongside the sedan.
Ergonomically, the CLS Shooting Break features a full length centre console (making it strictly a four-seater), wooden luggage compartment floor and even saddle bags set along the flanks of the loadbay area.
This CLS Shooting Break design study really is contemporary German automotive design reinterpreting Victorian era detailing.
Cabin details all the best of Merc's contemporary nautical design themes in terms of shape and texture.
Next generation turbocharged engines
The Shooting Break concept also gives some insight to Mercedes-Benz’s next generation direct-injection engines, which should usher in a 25% improvement in efficiency.
Turbocharging will be present on all next generation CLS engines. In 3.5l V6 trim it boosts output to 220kW.
Those customers seeking more power could option a 4.6l forced-induction V8 worth around 320kW whilst an AMG monikered CLS should cue the new 5.5l turbocharged V8, producing 414Kw and 900Nm of peak rotational force.
Expect more details as the CLS Shooting Break has its public debut later this week.
Mercedes-Benz diplomatically refers to it as a "coupe concept" for now. You just know they’re waiting for an excuse to build the production version.
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