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A comparison of the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake and the C-Class: the compact model is measured against the T-model

Dino Eisele
Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake and C-Class in comparison
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Y Now this niche would be again occupied: With the CLA Shooting Brake, Mercedes has crowned itself the market leader in station wagons with frameless side windows. A niche that Subaru said goodbye to some time ago for inexplicable reasons and which was initially left to the Swabians with the CLS Shooting Brake.

Enough joked, because the CLA with a large tailgate owes its existence mainly to fleet managers, to them a four-door coupé too daring or a C-Class T-Model now seems too expensive - or both. This niche also needs to be found first. Keyword price: the cheapest Shooting Brake (CLA 180 with 122 hp) costs a negligible 595 euros more than the coupé and a proud 5,414.50 euros less than a 156 hp C 180 T, the entry-level model in the series. And since the load space between the rear seat backrest and the load compartment blind with 495 liters exceeds that of the C-Class by five liters, hardly anything seems to speak for the big brother, right? -A_-headline__article - beta '> Electric tailgate subject to a surcharge

Yes, definitely. The fact that the maximum load volume differs by 154 liters in favor of the T-model (1,510 liters) seems to be the least relevant. The mere fact that Mercedes saves two-part rear lights in the true sense of the word with the Shooting Brake greatly restricts the opening of the load compartment, and the loading sill is slightly higher. However, it seems even more practical that the rear seat of the C-Class can be folded down at a ratio of 40:20:40 and, if the station wagon is packed under the roof, a pull-out partition net keeps the goods away from the driver and front passenger.

And the CLA? The backrest folds asymmetrically, the loading area is not completely flat. An optional level control as with the T-model? Not intended, but you can live with that. Less with the partition net, which is only available as an accessory pack and which can also only be ordered with the so-called load compartment package. What does Mercedes put in the package? A rear seat backrest that can be locked 15 degrees steeper for a little more storage space, a folding box and storage nets in the cargo area - costs 142.80 euros, the dividing net costs a further 178.50 euros. There is an extra charge for both: electrically opening tailgate and trailer coupling.

Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake dynamically in curves

But enough nets and peas counted. TheIn any case, Shooting Brake offers a minimum of station wagon virtues and significantly more utility than the sedan. And that can be enough for one or the other customer, because after all, most buyers choose a CLA because of its design and agile driving behavior. Since the Shooting Brake is supposed to weigh just 40 kilograms more than the sedan (CLA 180) and the spring and damper rates have been adapted to the weight distribution, nobody should drive it who wants to be surprised.

Like the sedan As usual, the - yes, let's just say that - station wagon steers in just as greedily, falls in love pretty quickly with corners, through which it scurries with minimal tendency to understeer. Since photographers like bright colors, the first exit takes place in the red CLA 250 4Matic, which is probably not one of the most popular variants. Thanks to the all-wheel drive with electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the rear axle drive, however, it can handle a lot of gas again outrageously early after the apex, while the front-wheel drive models would now probably get caught in the control electronics.

CLA Shooting Brake with two-liter turbo and 211 PS

For just under 1.6 tonnes, the Shooting Brake feels pretty lively, and if something is feeling bad, it's the poor winter tires - or the missing snow-covered road, but you can't have everything. Good seats aren't good either, because the strangely shaped, forward-arched backrest with the integrated headrests may look smart, but doesn't suit everyone.

Oh, how does it actually sit in the back? After all, there should be a little more headroom there due to the changed course of the roof line. That's certainly true, but even as a shooting brake, the CLA remains a coupé, one with a big mouth. In short: it is narrow at the back. So back behind the wheel. Yes, the engineers have got the suspension set-up under control, which was already evident with the appearance of the CLA. It retained the dynamic handling, but suddenly it was also able to bounce a bit - which the A-Class didn't quite succeed in at first. The Mercedes remains taut, regardless of whether on long waves or transverse joints, but bolder was yesterday.

The drive would still remain. The two-liter turbo gasoline engine makes a remarkable 211 hp, which it converts surprisingly boring. Not that he is a lazy dog, there is also the maximum torque of 350 Newton meters, but it sounds about as thrilling as a best-of elevator music sampler. And although the reaction and shift times of the seven-speed dual clutch transmission have now noticeably shortened, a somewhat sleepy interruption in tractive power is still a problem - the over-shooting brake CLA 45 AMG can do better.

Six enginesavailable

As an alternative to the 250, CLA 200 and 180 and the two 2.1-liter diesel 200 and 220 CDI will be available from dealers from March. The latter in particular should make the targeted clientele of the fleet managers weak, especially since Mercedes promises consumption of only 4.1 (CLA 200 CDI) and 4.0 l /100 km (CLA 220 CDI). Both diesels can also be ordered with all-wheel drive from September. And if all of this is not enough as a sales argument: no other manufacturer really offers station wagons with frameless side windows.

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