After listening to the opinions of some people on the form, practicality and usefulness of the Shooting Brake, I can only suggest that you experience the CLS first-hand before forming your own opinion. I do believe, however, that it will be a trend setter for executive models of the future.
The design is lightweight, dynamic and modern and has a Cd value of .29, which is impressive. The full-LED headlights up front set the scene with a sporty-looking frontal area. Then the flowing side lines sweep past you, impacting on your modern senses and bringing you to the back, also with full-LED lights that ensure a well-formed rear.
The interior is as to be expected – well designed and with individuality being key. There really are a magnitude of options to choose from to ensure that you have your CLS as you want it. Our models came fully specced with mind-blowing sound systems, an American cherrywood load-bay floor and air suspension that, even in a sport setting, produced the most pleasing ride quality over uneven roads that I have experienced. What also sets the CLS Shooting Star apart from its sedan counterparts is that it is a practical five-seater with loads of space, with the seats down or up.
All the models come with Echo and sport settings, and the amazing AMG even comes with sport + and manual. Driving the CLS Shooting Brake is a most pleasant experience, as everything is just where it must be, and works well – but please find out how to cancel the navigation voice before driving off, as she will not let up when you make a wrong turn! I like to assess a vehicle by seeing where my legs will rest, as it can be painful on a long journey if there are no smooth surfaces. I found the CLS to cater perfectly for this, as well as for seating and steering positions. The blind-spot indicators and lane-warning systems really
keep you out of harm’s way, and the way the standard air suspension handles our roads is second to none. The only noise was tyre noise, as wind noise was minimal. Of course, when you drive the 63 AMG, there is not even road noise, as the powerful V8 ‘sound track’ obliterates any silly sounds like the radio or voices. Roadholding and cornering ability are great, and even dodging potholes won’t make the CLS lose track. How do we measure and decide whether something is really dynamic? Well, I do by experiencing it personally and then weighing it against what I have experienced previously as dynamic. The CLS Shooting Brake when assessed according to these criteria is, to me, dynamic, although it will not be everybody’s choice because it is so modern – something which was also the case with my gastronomic experience at Circa Gallery.
Chef David Grier really went to extremes to ensure that what we experienced of his food was nothing short of what we had experienced with the CLS Shooting Brake. We started our gastronomic journey with a Salmon Ocean Plate. Three different arrangements of salmon were artistically placed on the plate, which was on a heated, glass-top table with mood pictures and tones coming through to ensure a great atmosphere. We had Norwegian Salmon served with
wasabi, soy and pickled ginger; and Seared Salmon garnished with deep-fried salmon skin; and Salmon Ceviche with soy caviar. My taste buds really thought they were in heaven and, were it not for the tantalising dishes to follow, I would have gone for seconds.
The salmon was followed by Mushroom Cappuccino, consisting of mushroom soup topped with fluffy cappuccino foam and truffle oil. Wow! – what a taste experience. Please do try it, it is worth it.
Mango, coconut and pineapple sorbet pop was served to clean the pallet before we were treated to a duo of French-trim Lamb Cutlets served on a polenta triangle with tender-stem broccoli and lamb jus. Again, the taste was superb.
Different choices of wine served with each of the meals really brought a new perspective to the taste sensations to be had. A Deconstructed Dessert followed. We were given a potjiepot and smooth chocolate mousse, fresh berries, mango and berry coulis, and a Bulgarian yoghurt garnished with chocolate quill and had to construct our own dessert and then present it to the person sitting opposite us.
To round off the evening, a cheese board was served. The combined experience of art, modern cars and cuisine was a real treat on the part of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and was, I think, again an example of what is possible when you put your mind to it. Thus old perceptions when it comes to the innovation of the Mercedes-Benz team are clearly something of the past.
At the launch of the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake at the Circa Gallery, we discovered that the Gallery has a most interesting collection of art, and, should you have the privilege to eat there, you will find a gastronomic experience second to none. About that, more a little later. And back to the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake. The name was derived from breaking in wild horses in years long gone. Breaking them in then moved to the next level by hitching them to a cart; and then the cart was modified to carry people; and then it was used for hunting –and thus the name ‘Shooting Brake’.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS is a combination of both a coupé and a fastback, which really makes for an interesting-looking vehicle. Take the flowing lines and the slope of the roof together with the lines of the windows and you are looking at a sculpture worth admiring. Mercedes started on the CLS in 2003 and have been
playing with Shooting Brake concepts since 2008. If one takes into consideration all of the information and feedback, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake is a magnificent car which is both striking in looks and awesome in performance.
Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake
* Prices as at date of publishing