Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4MATIC Shooting Brake: Your luxury baby wagon

Truth be told, wagons aren’t exactly very popular here in tropic Singapore. After all, we’re used to sedans, coupes, and the increasingly popular multi-purpose or sports utility vehicles. It is no doubt that eyebrows are raised every time a wagon is launched.

But discounting the (less eye catching) curvatures of the new CLA 250 Shooting Brake, we thought this three pointed star exuded much practicality compared to the rest in its class, although we must agree that it doesn’t really tie in with the German marque’s brand image.

So how does it differ in looks from the coupe?

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Honestly, apart from the wagon rear, the Shooting Brake doesn’t present much of a difference when pitted against its coupe brother. Sure, it sits 3 mm taller, but that’s about the only difference in dimensions – the coupe and the Shooting Brake share practically every single dimension you can find, including the wheelbase and vehicle width.

But needless to say, the Shooting Brake does away with the coupe roofline, and instead, presents you with a more conventional straight roofline across to the tailgate. The Shooting Brake shares the same belt line as the coupe, culminating in a muscular rear that somewhat retains its sporty outlook despite it being an estate car.

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Our CLA 250 Shooting Brake test unit came standard with bi-xenon headlamps, complete with Mercedes’ signature LED daytime running lights, a new twin pipe exhaust system, a new diamond radiator grille up front, as well as KEYLESS-GO, a new feature that otherwise wasn’t present in the previous batch of CLAs.

The interior of the Shooting Brake packs almost every other feature that you would find in the coupe variant. Being a Sport line wagon, we enjoyed Mercedes’ sports seats wrapped in ARTICO leather, which was impressively comfortable and hugging when you floor the pedal.

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Contrary to the small LCD infotainment display, Mercedes-Benz now offers you a free standing centrally mounted colour display, although we still lament the lack of COMAND Online.

At the rear, the Shooting Brake takes 3 adults comfortably, though we strongly recommend only 2 for longer distance drives. Taller passengers now do not need to worry about the sloping roof arch when entering or exiting the rear – the Shooting Brake offers a reasonable 947 mm worth of space for you to navigate into the car.

The difference between a Shooting Brake and the coupe would be the load compartment, with it being able to swallow up to 495 litres worth of luggage, and expandable up to 595 litres if you put down the rear seats. While it doesn’t seem significantly more compared to the coupe’s 470 litres, the Shooting Brake offers you the comfort of loading and unloading by means of the electronic tailgate.

Does it handle as well as the coupe?

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Despite it being an estate variant, we were impressed by the handling of the Shooting Brake when pitted side by side against competitors in its class.

Thanks to the all-wheel drive 4MATIC system, the Shooting Brake delivered and distributed power evenly among all four wheels when you yank the steering hard, ensuring that there is minimal over or understeer that may make your passengers’ ride the least uncomfortable.

The car handles generally well while cruising along the freeway, and despite the lack of AIRMATIC suspension, the effects of bumps and potholes were not as evident as those you would get on perhaps its Bavarian competitor.

Pushing out 211 horses and 350 Nm of torque from its 1,997 litre plant under the hood, the CLA 250 Shooting Brake completes your century sprint in 6.9 seconds – the figure ain’t impressive for Mercedes’ standards when you’re talking about pure speed, though we thought it was quite remarkable for an estate variant.

Despite its huge tail hanging out from the C-pillar, overtaking is an easy feat. Blip the pedal and the Shooting Brake’s xxx Nm of torque zips you into any space with ease. There’s minimal turbo lag on this plant, something which we felt Mercedes had an edge above the rest such as the Volvo V40.

So who would buy this?

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Given that the CLA Shooting Brake has the same dimensions as the CLA coupe, you now start to wonder who would buy the Shooting Brake since its coupe strikes a sleeker and more stylish presence.

But we figured that if we’d want to retain the aggressiveness and beauty of the CLA front, but yet have sufficient boot space for your kid’s stroller or luggages, then perhaps the CLA Shooting Brake might be a better option for you.

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