First drive: Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake

First drive: Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake

The sweeping lines of the elegant CLS-class receive some extra inches at the rear, meaning this shooting brake is geared up for transporting way more than just the odd dignitary in the back.

Under the bonnet, a mighty 5.5 litre V8 provides enough shove to power a small train, making the whole package a slightly bizarre option for anyone with any regard for their finances.
What is it?

An estate version of the rather lovely CLS-Class except this slinky cruiser is powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine that is so ferocious, even Satan would give it a wide berth. Styling has been given the AMG overhaul, so that means lower side skirts, bolshie brake calipers and enough V8 BITURBO lettering to have other estate owners perspiring at the traffic lights.

What's under the bonnet?

An insane twin-turbo V8 that kicks out a rather ridiculous 552bhp that's directed straight to the rear wheels. The unit pops, bangs and crackles on the overrun and produces a noise upon ignition that will have the neighbours complaining to the Environment Agency. Fuel efficiency is so ridiculous you'll need a small loan every time you take it to the shops and when all of the electronic safety nets are turned off, it's an absolute hooligan to control. But its many downfalls make it one very attractive gem for the enthusiastic driver.

What's the spec like?

This is an £83,000 car in its most basic form, so even standard spec includes all the interior and exterior AMG gubbins you'd expect, a communications system that does everything bar make you breakfast and all the beautifully-crafted leather trim Mercedes customers have become accustomed to. Despite the mammoth price, our car came with various toys, including: ambient lighting, massaging seats, Bang & Olufsen speakers, privacy glass, reversing cameras and much more, taking the total price up to £107,164. Ouch.

CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake
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First drive: Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake

Any rivals?

The upcoming Audi RS6 Avant will certainly give the big Merc a run for its money in the performance stakes - smashing the 0-62mph sprint in just 3.9 seconds compared to the Shooting Brake's 4.3 seconds – but we'd bet good money the interior doesn't feel anywhere near as luxurious. There is also the Jaguar XF Sportbrake that wades into the fight at less than half the price of the Mercedes but will find it impossible to keep up with an AMG-tuned CLS. So really, Mercedes-Benz has cornered a market for ludicrously fast, brilliantly opulent estate cars.

What's it like to drive?

Absolutely fantastic. The engine is so ferocious it never fails to put a smile on even the most depressed faced. Hit the AMG button and the machine hunkers down, the rev needle flashes across the dial and the rear wheels light up at even the faintest hint of acceleration. The auto gearbox can struggle at slow speeds and when mated to the Eco Stop/Start function, it can get a bit 'jerky' when crawling through busy towns. But the chassis and suspension can hardly be faulted – it can provide a most relaxing ride when called upon or turn into an absolute demon if coaxed. The seats are tricky to adjust to the perfect setting and the automatic gripping function feels very strange at first but it is this car's sheer thirst for fuel that will put most off. Fun to this degree comes at a hefty price.

The AOL Cars verdict

It's a stupidly expensive machine that costs more to run that most private jets but that engine, that noise and that superb ride are very difficult to beat. If you're in the market for a luxurious estate that can handle a trip to Ikea yet devour Tarmac on the way home, look no further. Just make sure you have a Shell loyalty card at the ready, you're going to need it!

The Knowledge

Price: £83,030
Engine: 5.5 litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 552bhp
Max speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 4.3 seconds
MPG: 28mpg (combined)
Emissions: 235g/km CO2
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