Beijing Preview: 2010 Mercedes-Benz Shooting Brake Concept breaks cover

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 30, 2010

Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new Shooting Break concept car ahead of the Beijing Auto Show, a new vehicle that previews the upcoming CLS Shooting Break. The new car uses the new design line introduced by the F800 Style Concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show but also shows elements which are mindful of the SLS AMG super sports car such as the radiator grille, with the large star and eye-catching, bionic slats.

The new grille is situated between the two LED headlamps, which feature the LED technology for all of the usual dynamic light functions. The design is complemented by the 20-inch sterling silver wheels, featuring a special bionically arranged five-spoke filigree design and wrapped in 255/30 ZR 20 tyres on the front and 285/25 ZR 20 tyres on the rear.

The interior shows natural wood and leather materials, and is dominated by the full-length centre console. It highlights the four- seat layout as well as the high levels of comfort afforded by the Shooting Break concept car.

Under the hood we find the upcoming new 3.5-liter V6 engine from Mercedes-Benz , equipped with start/stop function and capable to deliver 225 kW (306 hp) with a maximum torque of 370 Nm.

The origins of shooting brake name: Break, or the homonym Brake, was the name once given to carriages used to "break" in wild horses and also to restrict (or "brake") their urge to move, so that they could be put to use as work horses. Since the carts could easily be broken as part of this process, people tended not to use ones which they may have urgently needed for other purposes.

Where necessary, "Brakes" were often fitted out with variable bodies, which were only really used to carry along anything that may have been necessary for the hunt, for example.

Any such vehicle which was used when going out shooting was called a Shooting Brake or Shooting Break. In the 1960s and 1970s motorised Shooting Breaks were popular in Great Britain - exclusive cross-over vehicles, which combined the luxuriousness of a coupe with the luggage space of an estate.

Press Release

Visionary coupé variant: Concept Shooting Brake

Wide, low-silhouette, with a long bonnet and a roof which follows through to the rear: the Concept Shooting Brake presented at the Auto China in Beijing in 2010 showed surprising proportions, that at the same time awakened reminiscences of that deign icon, the Mercedes-Benz CLS. The name of the concept car is taken from a British automobile type: shooting breaks, exclusive cross-over vehicles that combine the luxury and style of a coupé with the luggage space of an estate.

The front design was completely new, and used elements mindful of the SLS AMG super sports car: the radiator grille with its large central star and striking bionic louvres was not integrated into the bonnet but separate. The grille was flanked by full-LED headlamps which for the first time offered all the usual dynamic light functions in LED technology. The side profile of the Shooting Brake was characterised by the high waistline and the feature line running all the way to the muscular hip joints at the rear, while the coupé-like side aspect was underscored by the low window design with polished aluminium trim, highlighting the entire ‘greenhouse’, to say the total window areas.

The interior was dominated by natural wood and leather materials. One eye-catching feature was the large full-length centre console. It highlighted the four-seat layout as well as the high levels of comfort afforded by the Shooting Brake concept car. The wooden floor of the luggage compartment reflected the true interpretation of this area of the vehicle, where the dark-stained silky oak contrasted against inlaid aluminium protective loading strips

Under the bonnet of the Shooting Brake concept car was the forerunner to the forthcoming new V-engine generation from Mercedes-Benz. The V6 benefited from a 60° cylinder angle and a displacement of 3.5 litres, and was characterised by direct injection featuring a control system that enables lean-burn operation. The six-cylinder engine delivered 225 kW (306 hp) with a maximum torque of 370 newton metres and in line with the BlueEFFICIENCY criteria of Mercedes-Benz also set new standards among the competition in terms of fuel consumption.

The proportions were clearly those of a coupé: the long bonnet, narrow-look windows with frameless side windows, and dynamic roof sloping back towards the rear, all created a basic stance with which it looked ready to sprint. Only when taking a second look did it become clear that the Shooting Brake concept car actually had four doors and an estate rear. This way, the design study revealed its philosophical kinship with the four-door CLS Coupé, which established a new market segment in 2004 and by 2010 had already taken up a very special place in automotive history as a design icon. In retrospect, this groundbreaking importance might one day be attributed to the Concept Shooting Brake too, which adopted ideas of the FASCINATION concept car, presented in 2008, and projected these into the future.

‘The Shooting Brake concept car is based on the great tradition of a stylish, cultivated sportiness which has always characterised the great Mercedes coupés, and it takes this unique legacy an exciting step further,’ explained Professor Gorden Wagener, chief designer at Mercedes-Benz upon the presentation of the concept car in April 2010. ‘At the same time it points the way towards the future design idiom of Mercedes-Benz.’

The design idiom included a contrasting interplay between lines and spanned areas, combined to create an animated area of interaction. The expressive design of the front immediately catches the eye, using elements mindful of the SLS AMG super sports car, and a radiator grille which for the first time was not integrated into the bonnet. This contributed to better pedestrian protection and at the same time also helped to improve the focus on the long, sporty bonnet. The grille was dominated by the large central star, highlighting its relationship to the other Coupés of the Mercedes brand. It was supported by a bionic, curved grille louvre. The curved design was reflected in the expressive look of the front apron and air intakes.

Particularly eye-catching: the full-LED headlamps which for the first time offered all dynamic light functions in LED technology. The LED lamps were divided into three arrow-shaped layers from top to bottom: the upper layer contained an LED indicator, beneath which a striking LED side light offered LED low beam functions. The side light were also visible when the dipped beam function was switched on, thereby creating a novel and separate night-time design and distinctive look. The lowest level of the headlamp housed the main beam and nightview functions. A total of 71 LEDs not only provided an unmistakable appearance, but also a significantly enhanced view of the road compared with previous systems.

The dynamic full-LED headlamps combined the exciting daylight colour impression of LED technology with the performance, functionality and energy efficiency of the bi-xenon light generation. The new light system featured the Intelligent Light System – already tried and tested in Mercedes models with bi-xenon headlamps – with its five light functions: country lights, motorway lights, enhanced fog lights, active curve lights and cornering lights. The Mercedes-Benz engineers were also able to combine LED technology with the innovative Adaptive High-Beam Assist system for the first time, leading to a completely new level of safety for night driving.

The side profile of the Shooting Brake concept car was dominated by the low, frameless side windows. Thanks to the positioning of the outside mirrors on the beltline, the side line was emphasised and all-round visibility improved in the region of the A-pillars. The side windows were supported on a high beltline, which sloped towards the rear in a fresh interpretation of the classic ‘dropping line’ of iconic Mercedes Coupés. An additional exciting touch was made with the prominent, muscular hip points which forcefully supported the side line. This interaction gave the impression of a sprinter, poised in the starting blocks, ready to release an explosive forward surge of energy. The roof followed through to the rear and also dropped away in typical coupé fashion. Another special feature was the recessed, filigree door handles, which – with the aid of sensors – emerged on being touched to allow access to the interior.

The side view was rounded off with wide wrap-around tail lights featuring LED technology. They formed a linking element to the low, steeply-angled estate car rear end with top-hinged tailgate. The shape was underscored by the broad shoulderline, clearly visible from the rear, which provided the base for the visually narrower greenhouse. The twin pipe exhaust system, with two polished exhaust covers, was integrated into the rear bumper, which featured an elegantly curved wing.

Also contributing to the special appearance of the Shooting Brake concept car was its exceptional paint finish. A satin-finish clear coat was used, giving the vehicle’s allanite grey magno colour a mysterious glint, at the same time bringing out the Coupé’s exquisite lines even more clearly.

The sporty look of the Shooting Brake concept car was rounded off with large 20-inch sterling silver wheels, featuring a special bionically arranged five-spoke filigree design, allowing a glimpse of the large brake discs behind. The front wheels were fitted with 255/30 ZR 20 tyres, while the rear of this exceptional vehicle sat on 285/25 ZR 20 tyres.

A large panoramic sunroof provided a view of the premium quality, masterfully crafted interior, which was dominated by natural materials, wood and leather: wood was used on the trim elements and door pulls, the instrument panel and centre console, and especially on the luggage compartment floor in the rear. When it came to choosing the wood, the interior designers opted for silky oak on account of its unusual, lens-shaped grain. The wooden floor in the luggage compartment has inlaid aluminium protective loading strips, and is reminiscent of finishes normally seen in yacht building.

Four saddle bags along the sides of the luggage compartment provided convenient storage for small implements. These saddle bags were finished in leather, a material used extensively throughout the Shooting Brake concept car: in fact, almost ten square metres of leather, that is, almost five complete hides, went into the making of each car. Light sections of porcelain-coloured nappa leather formed an attractive contrast to the dark-brown aniline leather in the colour tone called ‘nature’, and to the perforated metallic-silver-finish seat cushions and door centre panels as well. Extensive double-lapped stitching and sophisticated, colour-coordinated seat upholstery piping bore witness to the hand-crafted perfection and careful attention to detail, as did the tuck stitching on the instrument panel, door sill covers and seat backrests, all of which highlighted the contours of the components extremely well.

Perfection and loving attention to detail were evidenced in the treatment of the trim elements, too. Whereas the exterior trim was polished to a high gloss finish, in the vehicle interior it had a satin sheen finish. A total of seven steps, from grinding to polishing by hand were necessary to transform the aluminium elements milled from the solid into the jewel-like trim parts that graced the vehicle interior. The matt finish of the interior trim was at the same time inspiration for the metallic silver leather of the seats, door centre panels and saddle bags in the luggage compartment. The deep-pile carpeting in the footwell – in porcelain tone – was a sumptuous material from the Maybach Manufaktur. Finally, light-tone roof lining in silk rounded off the feeling of homelike elegance.

The Shooting Brake concept car was clearly a four-seater. The four identically shaped leather seats had a touch of the sports car about them thanks to their integrated head restraints. Openings in the upper area of the backrests made it possible to see through the seats. A large full-length wood console on the transmission tunnel provided a visual divide between driver and front passenger and at the same time indulged the occupants with two large leather-covered armrests. It also housed two cup holders as well as controls for the rear-compartment air conditioning. The centre console was finished off at the rear with inlaid work: curved Mercedes lettering which hearkened back to the style of the 1920s. The striking cursive-script lettering was also repeated on the front door sills.

The central screen was integrated into the upper part of the instrument panel, giving the cockpit a ‘wrap-around’ effect. The elegant verve and bionic details of the exterior were captured, among other things, in the dynamic wave-design air vents in the instrument panel, with an analogue clock in the centre. The instrument cluster comprised three tubes for dial-type gauges as well as a colour display for service indications.

In April 2010, the Shooting Brake concept car was powered by the forerunner to the forthcoming new V-engine generation from Mercedes-Benz. The special features of the spray-guided direct injection engine included the latest generation of piezo-electric injection valves which enabled multiple injections. Better lean operation was possible thanks to load monitoring of the pressure information. Even the operation of the ancillary components had been made efficient and there was also a start-stop function. The V6 with a 60° cylinder angle and displacement of 3.5 litres developed 225 kW (306 hp) with a maximum torque of 370 newton metres.

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