Submitted by Jeff Klepac on 01-17-2014
Mercedes-Benz is working on its fifth and final compact car based on its MFA front-wheel-drive platform, the CLA Shooting Brake. Our latest spy shots reveal a prototype with barely any camouflage gear, suggesting that the car’s auto show debut can’t be far. The only part that appears concealed is the rear hatch, which has been made to look bulkier.
In case you’re wondering, a shooting brake is essentially a coupe with a wagon-like hatch at the rear. The design offers greater versatility for low slung two-doors (or a four-door coupe in this case) and allows designers to inject some practical storage space in what would otherwise be a very confined cabin.
The sad news is that Mercedes has no plans to offer the CLA Shooting Brake in the U.S. market, mainly due to the same reasons it doesn’t bring in its existing CLS Shooting Brake: a lack of demand for wagons. That’s a shame because it’s likely to be a stunner, just like the CLA sedan on which it’s based.
Sadder still, in addition to the standard CLA getting the shooting brake treatment, there’s a strong possibility it will extend to the CLA45 AMG as well, much like the CLS Shooting Brake has its CLS63 AMG variant.
The powertrain lineup for the CLA Shooting Brake should match that of the regular CLA sedan, meaning a range of four-cylinder engines with the most potent being the 355-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder of the CLA45 AMG. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will most likely be fitted across the lineup, and buyers will have the option of all-wheel drive instead of the standard front-wheel drive.
As mentioned, the CLA Shooting Brake will be the last model built on Mercedes' MFA compact car platform. That means the SLA compact roadster is officially on ice, at least for this generation of the MFA.
A European launch of the CLA Shooting Brake will likely take place in late in the year or in early 2015.