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Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake: Don’t call it a wagon

Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting BrakeWhen it comes to car body styles, rules are meant to be broken. Tradition dictates that a coupe should only have two doors, but Mercedes ignored that rule with the four-door CLS. Now, the German carmaker has added a hatch to create what looks like a very voluptuous station wagon. But it’s not a station wagon, it’s the CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake.

In the past, carmakers have grafted wagon-like rear haunches onto their two door coupes to create shooting brakes: sports cars with a little added practicality. Classic examples include the Volvo P1800 ES and Reliant Scimitar GTE. Even though it is built on a bespoke chassis, the Ferrari FF also has the lines of a shooting brake.

Mercedes obviously thought that what worked on two-door coupes would also work on its four-door coupe. “In essence it represents an unprecedented version of a sports car with five seats and a large tailgate,” the company said in a statement. Such a car sounds like a hideous chimera, or the fulfillment of everyone’s automotive dreams. No one likes a poseur, but who wouldn’t want a sports car that they could use every day?

In photographs, the CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake looks great. The sloping roofline makes this Benz look like a chopped hot rod. It also jives well with the bold styling of the current CLS. It also has a super-low drag coefficient of 0.31.

Underneath the new bodywork, the Shooting Brake is essentially the same as the CLS 63 AMG “coupe.” That means a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 with 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque; 550 hp and 590 lb-ft if you opt for the AMG Performance package. A Performance Package-equipped CLS 63 will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and go on to an electronically-limited top speed of 186 mph.

Despite the impressive acceleration, don’t expect the CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake to be very nimble. The Shooting Brake weighs 4,310 pounds. It will probably be more of a long-distance cruiser than a full-on sports car, but that’s alright. Anything that can hit 60 mph in under 4.0 seconds, and carry five people with their stuff, is an impressive machine.

Mercedes originally unveiled the CLS Shooting Brake at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show, and it is just now heading into production. It will go on sale in the UK in September, but Mercedes has no plans to sell it in the US. Even if those plans change, getting one will still be difficult, since Mercedes will only build about 10,000 Shooting Brakes per year.