By Patrick James on 2016-02-14 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
A MERCEDES with orange go-faster stripes is something I never thought I would write about.
But that's what arrived and to say it is eye-catching is an understatement, dramatic would be a better description.
The go-faster stripes is a bit unfair, the German firm describes the trim as OrangeArt and you know what - it works a treat.
Although eye-catching the orange add-on bits are tastefully done and you can see the appeal to the younger buyers.
There's little doubt that Mercedes seems to cover most of the bases with its range of cars, from the A and B-Class right through to the range-topping S-Class and AMG GT.
They have also cleverly targeted their audience with trim and and styles with more appeal to younger buyers and this estate version of the A-Class, the CLA Shooting Brake, is a prime example.
Like many estate type cars, style and practicality have married to deliver coupe-like styling, with little compromise on interior space.
The term "shooting brake" supposedly from turn-of-the-last century England, where it referred to a car used to transport a hunting party and its gear. "Brake" referred to a chassis that was used to break in horses. It eventually just came to refer to early wagons in general.
The term was later applied to custom-built wagons by high-end coachbuilders and subsequently became synonymous with station wagon or nowadays estate.
This modern versions, like all Mercedes is generally well equipped and packed with safety equipment, but like most Mercedes, the optional extras can be eye-wateringly expensive.
With its long bonnet, sleek window profile with integral rear quarter window and sloping roofline it has an almost crouching profile.
Other striking and sporty features include the powerdomes, the diamond radiator grille with central Mercedes star and to the rear, the powered tailgate and twin exhausts.
The18-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels are painted in black with an orange rim flange, together with orange highlights on the front and rear aprons. The bi-xenon headlamps also feature orange highlight rings.
The sporty and colourful appearance is mirrored inside include the orange colour-contrasted stitching and orange trimmed seatbelts and and orange and grey stripes on the front seats and stylish instrument cluster with red-accented instrument needles and chrome-trimmed air vents.
Prominent is is the free-standing seven inch display screen which acts as the brains of the car, controlling various connectivity and apps and infotainment systems.
The new flat-bottomed multi function steering wheel is a nice touch, as is the ambient lighting system encompasses a total of 13 light sources in the interior, among them a light in the opening between the head restraint and the backrest.
The sleek styling means the car feels snug rather than roomy, but there is no lack of comfort from the supportive, multi-adjustable seats and it is packed with standard equipment.
In practical terms, the at 495 litres of boot space is decent, but this rises to 1,354 litres with the rear seats folded. It's not exactly cavernous, but that is the trade off marrying style with practicality. However it should be good enough for most.
The 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine, mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox delivered power and economy.
It is not the quietest, but is capable of reaching 60mph from a standing start in just 8.8 seconds and delivers claimed economy of 67.3mpg and low CO2 emissions of 108g/km.
The power is instantly on top an it accelerates smoothly and particularly impressively on the motorway.
The high quality soundproofing and thick carpets of the interior protects occupants from road and engine noise.
It's a pretty smooth affair on the motorway, but get back onto normal road and the 'lowered comfort' sports suspension, which drops the car 15mm on the front axle, can feel harsh, particularly over lumps and bumps in the road.
Mercedes-Benz CLA 220CDI 4MATIC OrangeArt Shooting Brake
Mechanical: 177bhp, 2,143cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 142mph
0-62mph: 8.3 seconds
Combined MPG: 67.3
Insurance Group: 28
C02 emissions: 108g/km
Bik rating: 23%
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