THE fifth body style in Mercedes-Benz’s growing small car line-up could go on to become the best-selling wagon in Stuttgart’s portfolio.
Not that the CLA load lugger is a wagon, of course; Benz has enlisted the cryptic Shooting Brake moniker for the tailgated version of its smallest sedan.
Mercedes says the new CLA wagon should sell about 1000 cars annually, which is similar to the numbers expected of the larger, more expensive C-Class Estate.
However the CLA Shooting Brake’s sales forecasts are still about one-third the numbers of popular luxury SUV rivals from BMW and Audi. As Mercedes doesn’t have a competing mid-sized SUV in Australia, the Shooting Brake will need to scalp a few sales from SUVs like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
Priced from $52,400 the CLA Shooting Brake commands a $1500 premium over the regular CLA, which itself commands a premium over the A-Class hatch with which it shares a platform and engines (the CLA also scored a circa-$1500 price rise late in 2014).
It gets an automatic tailgate as well as the unique body that liberates 40mm extra rear head room.
The engine line-up for the Shooting Brake consists of a quartet of four-cylinder turbos.
Kicking the range off is a CLA200, with a 1.6-litre turbo (115kW/250Nm) driving the front wheels. It’s followed by the cheapest and only diesel-powered model, the $52,900 CLA200 CDI with its 2.1-litre engine (100kW/300Nm), also front-wheel drive. Standard gear includes 18-inch alloys, sat-nav, rain-sensing wipers, ambient lighting inside, reversing camera and fake leather trim.
Then there’s the the CLA250 Sport, which is tipped to be the volume seller. This delivers the 4Matic four-wheel drive system and a 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine for $66,400. This adds the AMG styling kit, real leather, electric front seats, smart key entry and various red Sport trim elements, including around the air vents, some stitching and the seatbelts.
At the top of the CLA tree is the fiery 45 AMG with its class leading 265kW/450Nm 2.0-litre turbo delivering V8-bashing performance. Acceleration to 100km/h is claimed at 4.7 seconds, just 0.1 second shy of the sedan, due to an additional 30kg.
Your $89,900 spend nets you 19-inch alloys and brings digital radio, the Comand control system and a panoramic sunroof.