This is the Shooting Break concept car from Mercedes Benz that will make its debut in Auto China 2010. Although it’s in a shooting brake wagon style, a lot of what you see here will appear in the new CLS, which should be unveiled later this year. And if you’re wondering, there’s no typo in the name – Mercedes points out that the bodystyle’s history can be traced back to carriages used to “break” in wild horses.

Mercedes’ rival to the much less sleek BMW 5-Series GT and upcoming Audi A7 is wide and flat, with a long bonnet and a flowing roof, made to look more dramatic by the CLS-style plunging glasshouse. Up front, the Shooting Break uses a wide grille housing a big three pointed star, now standard in every Mercedes concept and soon to be implemented across the range. The grille is flanked by headlamps which for the first time feature LEDs (71 of them in total) for all light functions. Prominent on the side profile is an exaggerated beltline sweeping downwards to the rear, meeting strong rear haunches that’s also present on the W212 E-Class.

Open the frameless doors and you’ll find a very accurate preview of the CLS’ dash. Save for some funky hues and textures, it looks production ready and sports many elements that current Mercedes owners would be familiar with. The architecture is sleek and more minimalist that in the E-Class. This wagon has a full-length centre console that emphasises its four-seat layout, which looks very warm and inviting I must say.

The oak floor of the luggage compartment with aluminium loading strips look almost too beautiful to carry cargo. Notice the four saddle bags in the boot and the cursive-script used to spell “Mercedes” on the tail end of the centre console and door sills. There are ten square metres of leather padding this concept’s living space, which is a lot of dead cows for one car!

The concept is powered by a new 3.5-litre V6, with direct injection and a control system that enables lean-burn operation. It uses the latest generation piezo-electric injection valves which enable multiple injections. Even the operation of the ancillary components has been made more efficient and there is also a start/stop function. To come with the CLS, it pumps out 306 bhp and 370 Nm and will be paired to an upgraded 7G-tronic gearbox.

A big gallery awaits you after the jump.

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