CLK Shooting Brake Previewed
Auto Motor und Sport has a sneak-peek at a CLK Shooting Brake concept set to debut at the Paris Auto Show this October. The coupe-wagon previews the new look of the CLK, which will premier early next year as a 2010 model. The next-generation of Mercedes design aims at positioning the E-class and CLK closer together in terms of both construction and styling. The Shooting Brake shows many of the design features of the next generation of MB styling. Look for those sharper creases and the four sharp-edged headlights to dominate the new look, taking cues from the latest S-class to their logical conclusion in the rest of the Benz family. Although Benz is remaining stum on the production chances of the Shooting Brake, the Germans reveal that the forthcoming E-class will get a hybrid V6 powertrain making 224hp. Sehr Gut!
Even more specifically, I understand "Shooting Brake" to be a purely British designation for station wagon. About the CLK, I want to second the sentiment about the 1st Gen looking great, like an actually desitable car; second gen couldn't be more boring-looking. As for the CLS, it's been getting pushed higher and higher since it came out. I see this as a pattern across manufacturers, positioning the Coupe version of a chassis supposedly higher (pricier) than the sedan. Most recent example is the A4-based A5/S5, priced really, um, "ambitiously". Of couse, the subject of our discussion here was the first offender, with the C-class-based CLK being priced up in E-Class territory.
I thought it was a designation for a 2 door stationwagon with some sport pretensions first, but was later also used for four door models, for instance the Aston Martin Lagonda Virage Shooting Brake, which was the RS6 Avant/M5 Touring/E63 AMG of its day, long before those existed (apart maybe from the E34 M5)... Although there was also a version with 2 doors, yet they built only 4 of those. Before that, shooting brakes were usually made by coach builders on special requests and were conversions of existing models, like this DB5 shooting brake
The term "shooting brake" predates the automobile; it referred to a wagon with longitudinal bench seats in back, usually used for carrying hunting parties and their guns. It was basically synonymous with "estate car" or "station wagon." Early shooting brakes didn't necessarily have side doors at all, and some had them only for the front passengers -- the rear passengers would usually enter and exit through the rear, anyway -- but I've seen a fair number of four-door shooting brakes, as well. The idea that a shooting brake is a three-door wagon conversion of a sports car is a relatively recent one, dating back to the sixties. The people who did the conversions of Jaguar XJS coupes and the like adopted the term because it implied more prestige than "wagon" or "estate."