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First drive: Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

First drive: Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake
CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake adds good looks, if not usefulness, to the range.

 



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Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake

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The new Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake has a somewhat confused lineage, as it is related to both the CLA four-door coupé and A 45 AMG hatchback, though it does add some sharper style to the sometimes awkward looking CLA. However, it offers little real practicality gains over the A-Class.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake
Price: £43,120
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: four-wheel drive, seven-speed automatic
Body style: compact estate
CO2 emissions: 165g/km (Band G, £280 per year)
Combined economy: 39.8mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
Power: 360hp at 6,000rpm
Torque 450Nm at 2,250- to 5,000rpm

What's this?

Good question. The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake is spun off the CLA line, itself a descendant of the A-Class hatchback, albeit with a touch more glamour. The CLA is a four-door coupé and this longer-roofed, more generously proportioned model gains the Shooting Brake moniker, a tag that promises style, if not huge leaps in practicality. So it proves, the Shooting Brake adding some capacity to the boot space, but given the high and narrow opening you'll be doing well to get anything in big enough to really appreciate it. More significantly there's a touch more rear headroom, which backseat passengers will appreciate - even if it's still not exactly what you'd call generously spacious back there. In range-topping CLA 45 AMG guise it's got a 360hp turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with 4Matic four-wheel drive and a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission.

How does it drive?

Adding around 30kg of mass to the rear has done little to dent the CLA 45 AMG's performance. Sixty two mph arrives in 4.7 seconds, which is just 0.1 seconds slower than the four-door coupé, while dynamically there's little to differentiate the pair. AMG admits that it has softened off the CLA Shooting Brake's suspension a touch to the benefit of ride comfort, it conceding that Shooting Brake customers are less likely than those of the coupé to take it to a track. We'll need a test on UK road surfaces to know for sure, but initial impressions in Germany are that it's definitely for the benefit of the ride comfort. There are still masses of grip, the steering is quick and offers good weight, though the chunky AMG wheel is not exactly brimming with feel. It'll go where you point it though, with decent accuracy, so the CLA 45 AMG's chassis is accomplished, if not particularly engaging.

That's true of the engine as well. It's impossible not to be impressed with the CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake's 360hp from 2.0 litres, and its muscular delivery is rarely lacking. If there's a weak link it's the automatic transmission, which can be a touch obstructive, second guessing or not allowing downshifts, denying you engine braking and requiring more use of the brakes. They're good, which is useful, given the way the Shooting Brake can gain and carry its speed. There's just not a huge incentive to do so. It's all very accomplished, more so than its four-door coupé relation, but it's still lacking in any real drama, other than its looks - which can be more or less had in AMG Sport trim with any engine in the CLA Shooting Brake range.

Verdict

In isolation, the CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake is a highly desirable proposition, but AMG badge (not to mention the price tag) puts the Shooting Brake among a burgeoning class of fast, compact estates. Volkswagen's Golf R Estate, the SEAT Leon Cupra ST and Ford Focus ST all offer a more engaging drive, and more carrying capacity, for significantly less money. And that makes it difficult to recommend the new Merc.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3 3 3 3 3 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 17 Apr 2015









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2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.



2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake. Image by Mercedes-Benz.
 






 

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