Mercedes CLS 350 Shooting Brake 2015 review

Updates add to the appeal of sleek executive estate

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The CLS Shooting Brake is a unique choice in the market, but one that is obviously proving a success as Mercedes is set to offer the CLA as a Shooting Brake later this year. This makeover – which focuses on cosmetic touches and clever new LED headlights – extends the CLS’s unique appeal, while the creamy six-cylinder diesel is the engine to go for.

Whether you view the CLS Shooting Brake as a practical coupé with five doors and a large boot, or an estate that places style above practicality, Mercedes has succeeded in creating another niche in the premium class. To prove it, the CLA will get the swoopy estate treatment and Shooting Brake name later this year, too.

But before that, the existing CLS has been madeover – and we’ve driven it in the UK. In place of the two-bar grille is a ‘diamond’ version, while the bumper has also been reshaped. At the rear there’s a more aggressive-looking bumper and the tail-lights have been darkened.

Best estate cars to buy now

But the big news is the headlamps, which now use Multibeam LED tech. On full beam the 24 LEDs fan upwards and outwards, giving unparalleled vision. What’s more, Highbeam Assist – which senses an oncoming car and shuts off the relevant LEDs shining at it – means it’s possible to drive at night with the full beams on all the time.

The refreshed Shooting Brake range offers two diesels, plus a 5.5-litre V8 petrol twin-turbo in the CLS 63 AMG S. There’s a 2.1-litre four-cylinder, but we’d recommend spending an extra £3,305 for the 3.0-litre V6 in the 350 BlueTEC. With 258bhp and 620Nm of torque it’s the perfect engine for the 1.9-tonne estate, delivering 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds.

Refined, flexible and powerful, it’s barely audible, and the stop-start springs to life with little vibration. The new nine-speed auto shifts even more smoothly, boosting economy and emissions to 49.6mpg and 149g/km respectively.

This car enjoys being hustled along on country roads; the box is quick to respond and power delivery is linear. But ultimately the Shooting Brake is a grand tourer, and it cossets its occupants in near-silence on the motorway.

There’s only one spec. All AMG Lines have 19-inch rims, AMG styling, lowered suspension, LED lights, heated leather seats, powered tailgate, sat-nav and climate control. There are numerous options, too. The update has made the car even more appealing – it’s an eccentric choice, but one that always feels special to drive.

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