It took Mercedes-Benz a little over two years to turn the Shooting Break Concept from the 2010 Beijing Auto Show into the production CLS Shooting Brake (that's no typo, the German automaker changed the name in the process) you first saw in a set of leaked pictures earlier today and in much more detail now.
So what exactly is the CLS Shooting Brake? Well, if you ask the brand with the star, it will tell you that it's "quite clearly a coupé, but with five doors and a roof which continues through to the rear."
If you're having a problem comprehending Mercedes' description of the Shooting Brake, you're probably not alone.
To put it simply, it's an estate version of the CLS with a heavily arched roof that digs into the load area reducing space but at the same time, makes the car look far more elegant and sporty than let's say, the E-Class Wagon.
While it does look sleek, the Shooting Brake is a large vehicle that measures 4,956mm (195.2 inches) long, 1,881mm (74.1 inches) wide and 1,413 mm (55.6 inches) tall. This means it has the same width with the CLS sedan but it is 16mm longer and surprisingly, 3mm lower than the saloon it is based upon.
Another surprise comes from the load area as with 590 liters of space with the rear seats in their position, the CLS Shooting Brake beats the Jaguar XF Sportbreak (550 liters), Audi A6 Avant (565 liters) and BMW 5-Series Touring (560 liters) losing only to its E-Class Wagon stablemate (695 liters).
With the rear seats folded, however, the Shooting Brake with 1,550 liters of space falls behind all four cars (Jaguar: 1,675 liters, Audi: 1,680 liters, BMW: 1,670 liters and Mercedes E-Class Wagon: 1,950 liters).
The Shooting Brake is equipped as standard with a self-leveling air suspension at the rear while another special feature worth mentioning is the available 'designo' wooden luggage compartment floor that Mercedes says "serves to underscore the hand-finished nature of the interior".
In addition, unlike the CLS sedan that gets a strict-two seat layout at the back, the Shooting Brake features three seats, the backrests of which can be folded down from the luggage compartment as standard.
Customers will be able to choose from five interior colors, five trim designs and also three qualities of leather.
The initial engine range for Europe will include a total of four powertrains, all coupled to a 7-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with an ECO start/stop function.
These include two diesels, the CLS 250 CDI with a 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbo rated at 201hp (204PS) and the CLS 350 CDI powered by a 3.0-liter V6 delivering 261hp (265PS), and two petrol models, the CLS 350 with a 302hp (306PS) 3.5-liter V6 and the CLS 500 sporting a 4.7-liter V8 turbo producing 402hp (408PS).
The CLS 350 CDI and the CLS 500 will also be offered with Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel drive system.
In the UK, Mercedes will only offer the two rear-wheel drive diesel models.
In 2013, the Shooting Brake's range will be enhanced with the flagship CLS 63 AMG version series, likely powered by a 5.5-liter bi-turbocharged V8 rated at 518hp (525PS) in standard trim.
Mercedes-Benz has said that it has no current plans to bring the Shooting Brake to North America.
If you scroll down, you'll find all the technical data for the European-spec model along with Mercedes-Benz's account on the origins of the Shooting Brake/Break moniker, plus 80 high-resolution photos and a video.
[From Mercedes-Benz] It's all in a name: 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. Motorised Shooting Brakes were popular in England in the 60s and 70s – exclusive two-door sports cars, which combined the luxury and style of a coupé with a larger load compartment and large tailgate."