Two models are offered initially, comprising a $129,000 CLS250 CDI four-cylinder diesel and a $173,000 CLS350 V6 petrol.
A CLS63 AMG performance variant will follow in May 2013, with five units of the ‘Edition 1’ that was previewed at the 2012 Sydney motor show being delivered a few months earlier.
The regular Mercedes-Benz CLS isn’t available with the four-cylinder diesel, but the CLS350 Shooting Brake carries a $8930 premium over its equivalent sedan sibling.
The CLS250 CDI Shooting Brake features a 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel with 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque, feeding the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Official fuel consumption of 5.5 litres per 100km makes it the most efficient of the coupe-wagons.
The CLS350 Shooting Brake is the petrol choice for now, offering 225kW and 370Nm from its 3.5-litre V6 that is also mated to a seven-speed auto. Fuel use, on the recommended premium unleaded, is rated at 8.2L/100km.
At 4956mm, the five-door CLS is only 16mm longer than the four-door and is the same width and height. Rear headroom, though, increases from 927mm to 974mm. Kerb weight increases by 65kg to 1865 kilos.
Mercedes-Benz Australia admits the CLS Shooting Brake isn’t a high-volume model but says it will find enough customers to boost sales from about the 300-400-per-year range for the CLS ‘coupe’ to between 500 and 600 anually for both models.
“We know it is a niche model,” says the company’s general manger of sales, Richard Emery. “It’s for someone who would normally buy an E-Class or CLS [coupe] but with the capacity for storage.
“We think buyers will be previous Mercedes owners mainly, but younger than traditional owners because this is a vehicle for the family. So about 45-55.”
Mercedes doesn’t believe there is a direct rival for the CLS Shooting Brake, saying only the BMW 5 Gran Turismo comes close in concept.
The Shooting Brake’s boot is 590 litres in size, expanding to 1550L when the rear seats are folded – via automatic-release levers in the boot. These figures compare with 520L for the coupe-sedan, which doesn't have folding rear seats unless you tick an option box.
The coupe-wagon also gains a tailgate, which opens and closes at the touch of a button, and self-levelling rear air suspension that maintains a constant ride height even when there’s plenty of luggage in the rear.
One of the more interesting options for the Shooting Brake is a wooden luggage compartment floor, which is made from American cherry wood and costs $4900
Mercedes has added further features to the elongated CLS, including an AMG Sports Package that brings sportier-looking bodywork, sports suspension and 19-inch AMG alloy wheels.
Mercedes says the AMG theme is carried inside with the three-spoke steering wheel, Black Ash wood trim and stainless steel pedals.
The real deal AMG version, however, will be the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake, which sprints from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds thanks to its 386kW 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8.
It goes on sale in May 2013, with a price tag in the $270,000-275,000 vicinity.