What's the used Mercedes CLS estate like?
The trouble with being voguish in the motoring world is that the niche being filled might not be a particularly strong-selling one. The Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake is a prime example of this; it was only on sale for six years and wasn’t replaced. Buyers preferred SUVs with coupé styling, instead. Shame, really, because besides its rakish roofline, a used CLS Shooting Brake has a lot going for it.
Despite its fairly radical exterior looks, its engine range was conventional and shared with other Mercedes models. The sensible choices were the two four-cylinder, 2.1-litre diesels with either 175bhp (220d) or 201bhp (250d). There’s also a larger and more refined 258bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel (350d), or, for those who think nothing of forking out for petrol, there’s a hugely fast 5.5-litre V8 (63 AMG) with either 525, 557, or 577bhp outputs.
On the road, the CLS is a refined cruiser, with low levels of wind and engine noise. The steering is light and effortless, but certainly not the sharpest. It still manages to be precise and reassuring at higher speeds, though. The ride depends upon which suspension option the car has been fitted with; the standard suspension set-up can be a bit firm, and things are only made worse with the ‘sports’ suspension fitted to AMG Sport models. Air suspension is standard on the rear axle of the CLS Shooting Brake, but its main job is to deal with heavy loads in the boot, so you’ll need to find an example fitted with full air suspension to be able to select a ‘comfort’ setting for a smoother ride.
The interior is well made, though, with lots of dense, soft-touch plastics and even leather covering the top of the dashboard, and you had a choice of wood inserts and even carbonfibre trim on top-spec AMG cars. There won’t be any complaints from those in the front over the amount of available room, and there’s lots of adjustment in the seats and steering wheel for a driver to find their ideal position.
Due to the reduced height of the roofline, if you regularly carry taller passengers in the back, you might find that their heads touching the roof lining. If this is the case, you might be better served buying a regular Mercedes E-Class Estate, since there is more space in that car. Keep in mind that, while the CLS Shooting Brake does have five seats, the limited head room and large central tunnel makes carrying five suitable only for short trips.
Boot space, in terms of total volume is actually rather good. It’s bigger, even, than a Jaguar XF Sportbrake. However, the restrictive opening and sill that you have to lift items over conspire to hamper practicality.
Standard equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, an electric tailgate, 18in alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a Becker sat nav system, DAB radio and leather seats. AMG Sport endows the CLS with 19in alloy wheels, a sporty body kit, sport-tuned suspension, LED headlights, heated front sports seats, alloy pedals and Mercedes' Comand infotainment system.
AMG Line became the default choice from 2014 onwards and made heated front seats and the Comand infotainment system standard, but you could also add a couple of option packs if you wanted more toys. The Premium pack included an electric sunroof and reversing camera, while the Premium Plus pack added keyless go and an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system. The top-of-the-range 63 AMG has a beefy bodykit, a different front grille, rear spoiler and sports exhaust. Inside, there are numerous AMG details and even a race timer.
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