Mercedes has revealed the shooting brake version of its A-Class-based CLA four-door coupe. Despite being the same length and width, the CLA Shooting Brake gets extra boot space and rear headroom over its sibling.
Viewed from straight ahead, the Shooting Brake is indistinguishable from the regular Mercedes CLA. Viewed in profile, the extended roofline sets the two models apart. With a more conventional “three-box” design, the four door’s roof slopes down from the B-pillar towards a coupe-like rear, while the Shooting Brake shape extends beyond the rear wheel arch before the back window begins.
The side windows are seamlessly stretched to fill the extra metal from the side, giving rear passengers a better view out. Around the back, the lights and the rear bumper are a very similar shape in each model, but the larger, more upright rear window of the shooting brake sets the two models apart.
Length and width remain the same as the regular CLA, at 4,605mm and 1,777mm respectively. The extended rear results in a marginally less aerodynamic shape than the saloon, though a figure of 0.26cd is still very efficient, and is partly responsible for the CLA 200 CDI BlueEfficiency’s claimed fuel economy of 72.4mpg.
Much like the outside, in the cabin is the same for front passengers in both models. The attractive A-Class-derived dash remains, as does the general feeling of quality that Mercedes is in the habit of delivering.
Rear passengers will notice the benefit most of all, though. The extended roofline results in extra headroom – the distance from the rear seat squab to the roof has increased from 905 to 945mm. This, along with the extra glass, helps the rear of the cabin feel a little less claustrophobic than the saloon.
Boot capacity has grown modestly by 25 litres to 495. If you still need extra space, the rear seat backs can be set to a more upright position, increasing volume to 595 litres, while folding away the rear bench completely opens up a 1354 litre load bay.
More useful is the hatchback opening, which allows larger items to fit through the boot aperture. The loading lip is still the same high and narrow shape, however, so heavier items won’t be any easier to heave in. However, the lockable boot compartment and 12-volt socket make the shooting brake a more practical proposition overall.
Is it worth it?
Ultimately, there isn’t a massive difference between the two models on a day to day basis. Thanks to the more practical shape, the Shooting Brake will be better for those wishing to occasionally carry large loads, and there is a little extra rear headroom.
We appreciate that styling is a subjective thing, but it could be argued that the shooting brake looks more elegant, particularly when seen in profile – the looks will probably pull in more buyers than the added practicality.