Alongside the release of the new CLA Shooting Brake, Mercedes has announced that a full-fat AMG version will join the range. It’s closest rival, the recently-released Volkswagen Golf R estate, combines similar levels of crazy performance with practicality and quality.
Taking inspiration from the larger CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, the CLA 45 offers the performance expected from an AMG model, combined with the the practicality of five seats and a big boot accessed by a large, automatic rear hatch.
The AMG is distinguished from lesser CLA models tanks to a large matt grey front grille with AMG lettering, and a large front splitter at the lower edge of the bumper. The standard alloy wheels are a five-spoke 18-inch design, while multi-spoke 19-inchers finished in black are available as an option. At the rear, an aggressive rear bumper features large vertical vents at each side, and two exhaust pipes peeking out from either side of a rear diffuser.
The interior is much the same as the standard CLA 45, which is no bad thing. A flat bottomed steering wheel, generous sports seats, and contrasting red seat belts and stitching set the cabin apart from more basic CLA models. A 495-litre boot is hidden behind the rear tailgate, and a folding rear bench increases that figure to 1354 litres.
Under the bonnet, the CLA 45 is fitted with the most powerful four-cylinder engine currently in production. The 2.0-litre turbo unit is closely related to the 4.0-litre V8 found in the new Mercedes-AMG GT, and here it produces 360hp and 332lb ft of torque. A flap in the exhaust remains closed under normal driving to benefit refinement, opening up during hard acceleration to endow the CLA 45 with a more sporty soundtrack.
That power, combined with four-wheel-drive traction, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission launches the CLA 45 AMG from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Despite this, Mercedes claims fuel economy of 40.9mpg and only 161g/km of CO2.
In regular conditions, the four-wheel-drive system sends all of the power to the front wheels, which helps in part to return that impressive fuel economy figure. Only when the system detects slip in the front axle will up to 50 per cent of the power be instantaneously sent to the rears.
Order books for the AMG Shooting Brake will open in March 2015 and prices will set slightly above the £42,270 Mercedes asks for the regular CLA 45 AMG.