This is the car that previews the new Mercedes-Benz CLS – due to make its debut at this October’s Paris Motor Show and follows the design idiom first shown in the F800 Concept shown at the Geneva Show in March.
Mercedes would have us believe that there is a market for a more practical version of the not-very-practical four-door CLS coupe, and who are we to question such logic, after all the CLS defined a new market segment for Mercedes even though few manufacturers followed their example.
The Shooting Break concept car, now making its premiere at Auto China 2010 is a further insight by Mercedes designers into the possible future development of the Coupé concept.
The origins of the name “Shooting Break”
Break, or the homonym Brake, was the name once given to carriages used to “break” in wild horses and also to restrict (or “brake”) their urge to move, so that they could be put to use as work horses. Since the carts could easily be broken as part of this process, people tended not to use ones which they may have urgently needed for other purposes.
Where necessary, “Brakes” were often fitted out with variable bodies, which were only really used to carry along anything that may have been necessary for the hunt, for example. Any such vehicle which was used when going out shooting was called a Shooting Brake or Shooting Break. In the 1960s and 1970s motorised Shooting Breaks were popular in Great Britain – exclusive cross-over vehicles, which combined the luxuriousness of a coupé with the luggage space of an estate.
Wide and flat, with a long bonnet and a roof which continues through to the rear, the design of the front is completely new, but makes use of elements which are mindful of the SLS AMG sports car: the radiator grille, with the large star and eye-catching, bionic slats, is not integrated into the bonnet but has been designed separately in the form of a “soft nose”.
The grille is flanked on each side by full LED headlamps, which for the first time feature LED technology for all of the usual dynamic light functions. The side profile is given a touch of dynamism thanks to the high, exaggerated beltline sweeping towards the rear, and the dramatic character line which is supported by the powerful-looking rear wheel arches. The coupé-like side view is also emphasised with a low window design which also highlights the greenhouse with polished aluminium trim.
The interior is dominated by natural wood and leather materials. One eye-catching feature is the large full-length centre console. It highlights the four-seat layout as well as the high levels of comfort afforded by the Shooting Break concept car. The wooden floor of the luggage compartment reflects an indulgent interpretation of this area of the car, where the dark-stained silky oak contrasts against inlaid aluminium protective loading strips. Perhaps not the most practical surface for the family pet…
“The Shooting Break concept car is based on the great tradition of a stylish, cultivated sportiness which has always characterised the great Mercedes Coupés, and it takes this unique legacy an exciting step further,” explains Professor Gorden Wagener, chief designer at Mercedes-Benz. “At the same time it points the way towards the future design idiom of Mercedes-Benz.”
The Shooting Break concept car is powered by the the forthcoming new V-engine generation from Mercedes-Benz. The V6 benefits from a 60° cylinder angle and a displacement of 3.5 litres, and is characterised by direct injection featuring a control system which enables lean-burn operation. The six-cylinder engine produces 302 bhp with a maximum torque of 370 Nm, and in line with the BlueEFFICIENCY criteria of Mercedes-Benz also makes considerable progress in terms of fuel consumption.
Also contributing to the special appearance of the Shooting Break concept car is the paint finish. A satin-finish clear coat has been used, which gives the vehicle’s allanite grey magno colour a mysterious glint and also further brings out the Coupé’s exquisite lines.
The sporty look of the Shooting Break concept car 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 ZR 20 tyres, while the rear of the Shooting Break concept sits on 285/25 ZR 20 tyres.