31/7/12

Overview: Mercedes CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake

As ever with AMG, the Shooting Brake is not a mildly tweaked version of a normal family car but a substantially unique vehicle.

The CLS’s powertrain is still fairly fresh, having been around for a year or so. The 5461cc V8 has two turbochargers and offers 525PS and 700Nm — the latter figure is not overwhelming, considering that turbocharging (or any other form of supercharging) boosts power by boosting torque. Drive torque is fed through AMG’s Speedshift MCT seven-speed epicyclic automatic. The V8 features direct fuelling with spray-guided combustion, piezo injectors, air/water intercooling, ‘generator management’ (charging on the overrun) and a stop-start function. An uprated version delivers 557PS and 800Nm — six and 14 per cent. greater respectively. Predictably, the performance gain is trivial, but perhaps that’s not the point: these cars represent performance overkill that’s way beyond mere effortlessness. The more powerful ‘Edition 1’ model delivers its power and torque over roughly the same range of crankshaft speeds as the standard car, not just the top end of the speed range, and rolling-road fuel consumption figures under the NEDC régime are the same.

Mercedes CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake.

The drivetrain has four operating modes. In ‘Controlled Efficiency’ (C) mode, the stop-start function is always enabled and shuts the engine off when the vehicle is at a standstill. In ‘S’ (Sport), ‘S+’ (Sport plus) and ‘M’ (Manual) transmission modes, the engine and transmission are more responsive to the accelerator and gear-changes are faster under full load.

Mercedes CLS 500 Shooting Brake with optional American cherry plywood load deck.

The Speedshift transmission features double-declutching and race start functions. Suspension changes over a standard CLS include greater negative camber for better turn-in and ‘bite’. Elastokinematics (the behaviour of the rubber parts) is, perforce, enhanced over lesser cars to deal with higher cornering loads. Front track is increased by 56mm. The steering’s power assistance is electro-mechanical; the level of assistance varies with speed and is adjusted according to the driving mode the driver has selected.

Buyers can specify AMG’s Ride Control suspension as an optional extra. This uses the standard air suspension struts at the rear together with automatic level control and an electronically controlled damping system. With this system specified, the driver can switch between three suspension modes — Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. The three-stage ESP with Sport Handling mode also enables three individual control strategies to be selected.

The CLS’s braking system uses 360mm ventilated and perforated brake discs all-round. Composite parts are used on the front axle. The optional AMG ceramic composite braking system with even larger brake discs (and, yes, specially painted brake callipers with ‘AMG Carbon Ceramic’ lettering) offers a greater level of overkill as well as squeezing unsprung masses. Tyre specification is 255/35R19 on the front and 285/30R19 on the rear.

Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake.

The Brake features frameless, all-aluminium doors made from deep-drawn aluminium panels with extruded sections; in comparison with conventional steel doors, these items are claimed to be 24kg lighter. The tailgate, bonnet, front wings, various support profiles and substantial parts of the suspension are also made of aluminium. The aerodynamics are not quite as brilliant as we have come to expect from Mercedes; rather, the drag coefficient is merely good, at Cd 0.29. The frontal area is 2.30m², giving a drag area of 0.67m².

In common with the standard CLS, the Brake offers the option of LED headlamps. These have a colour temperature of 5500K — a little warmer than daylight (6500K) but cooler than Xenon discharge lights (4200K). Apparently 95 per cent. of all customers have opted for LED lights in the CLS Coupé.

And finally: mention has to be made of the optional extra plywood load-compartment floor. Not that it’s high-tech — far from it. The panel is made from open-pore American cherry and is highly polished, with strakes to protect it. The five veneers for the plywood are glued and pressed together by hand; the blanks are milled into shape using a CNC machine, and finished by oiling. Inlay work using darker smoked oak is cut into three-millimetre strips by laser. The aluminium rails have a brushed finish and rubber inserts. Powered opening of the tailgate and a load cover are standard across the range.

So far as the seat trim is concerned, it seems that a vegetarian option is not available.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake
CLS 250 CDI CLS 350 CDI CLS 350 CDI
4 Matic
CLS 350 CLS 500 CLS 500
4 Matic
CLS 63 AMG
Cylinders 4I 6V 6V 6V 8V 8V 8V
Valves 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Aspiration/
geometry
T T T A A A 2T
Bore/stroke 83.0/99.0 83.0/92.0 83.0/92.0 92.9/86.0 92.9/86.0 92.9/86.0 98.0/90.5
Swept volume 2143cc 2987cc 2987cc 3498cc 4663cc 4663cc 5461cc
Compression
ratio
16.2:1 15.5:1 15.5:1 12.0:1 10.5:1 10.5:1 10.0:1
PS/rpm 204/4200 265/3800 265/3800 306/6500 408/5000 408/5000 525/5250
Nm/rpm 500/1600 620/1600 620/1600 370/3500 600/1600 600/1600 700/1700
Maximum speed 146 155 155 155 155 155
0-100km/h 7.8 6.6 6.7 6.7 5.3 5.3 4.4
Combined MPG
(l/100km)
55.4
(5.1)
47.0
(6.0)
42.8
(6.6)
41.5
(6.8)
30.7
(9.2)
28.8
(9.8)
27.9
(10.1)
CO2 g/km 134 159 174 159 214 229 235
Emissions category EU5 EU5 EU5 EU5 EU5 EU5 EU5
Transmission A7 A7 A7 A7 A7 A7
Driven wheels Rear Rear All Rear Rear All Rear
Fuel tank 59l 59l 59l 59l 80l TBC TBC
Length (Coupé) 4956 (4940)
Width (Coupé) 1881 (1881)
Height (Coupé) 1413 (1416)
Wheelbase 2874
Track
— front
— rear

1596
1624

1596
1624

TBC
TBC

1596
1624

1596
1624

TBC
TBC

1652
1624
Mass data for the Shooting Brake will follow when they are available.
Text and design copyright © Under the Skin 2010-2012. We recommend Firefox or Safari.