The Shooting Brake highlights Mercedes-Benz’s leading role when it comes to new vehicle concepts. As such, it represents the latest in a long line of vehicle concepts which have had a far-reaching impact on the market, such as the SLK, which defined a new type of vehicle in 1996 as the first roadster with a lowerable steel roof, the M-Class which was introduced as the first premium SUV in 1998 or the four-door CLS Coupé from 2004.
The CLS Shooting Brake is neither a coupé nor an estate. Rather, it is a totally new form of sports car, with five seats and a large tailgate. The CLS Shooting Brake is a special proposition for a very special type of customer: architects, collectors, travellers – people who do not wish to compromise. It is a special product for people who stand apart from the mainstream and who do not wish to forego sportiness or luggage space as they travel in style. Its special status is also revealed by the fact that it is categorised as a coupé by the Federal Motor Transport Authority.
Close up: How the name “Shooting Brake” arose
Exclusive sports car with high recreational utility value
Brake, or the identically sounding Break, was the name once given to carriages which were commonly fitted out with light, variable bodies to transport hunting equipment, for example. For larger hunting parties, seats were fitted so as to offer greater comfort to those participating in the hunt. Such vehicles which were taken out on shoots were referred to as shooting brakes or shooting breaks. Motorised Shooting Brakes were particularly popular in England in the 1960s and 1970s – exclusive crossover vehicles combining the luxury and style of a coupé with the luggage capacity of an estate.
A typical example of this exclusive design is the Aston Martin DB 5 Shooting Brake, the prototype of which was produced by the Aston Martin factory for its then owner, David Brown. A further dozen of this vehicle were subsequently produced by way of conversion measures by bodybuilder Harold Radford. The E-Type Jaguar converted into a Shooting Brake achieved cult status in the film Harold & Maude. The one-off car was destroyed in the scene in the film in which it is driven over a cliff.
The Lynx company converted precisely 67 Jaguar XJSs into Shooting Brakes between 1982 and 2002, marketing them under the name Lynx Eventer. One-off cars were also built on the basis of Ferrari sports cars, such as the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Shooting Break produced by Panther Westwinds in 1974.