Wagons are great options for people who want a lot of space, functionality and comfort without a crossover or SUV. For those looking to add style to the mix, there is always the option of a shooting brake.
Shooting brakes originated in the 1890s as horse-drawn carriages that used to transport shootings, all their gear, and every game they shot. Automotive shooting brakes became popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and most were built inside a carriage, using existing models. Carriage-built shooting brakes continued into the 1960s, before being replaced by the conventional carriage layout. In modern times, the shooting brake reappeared as production models, most notably in the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Jaguar XF. Some bodybuilders still make shooting brakes on special request, such as Carrozzeria Touring with their modified Maserati Quattroporte, and Zagato with their Aston Martin Vanquish†
Shooting brakes aren’t as popular as wagons or SUVs, but they’re great and stylish options for anyone who doesn’t like the alternatives. Here are 10 of the best modern shooting brakes ever made – by car manufacturers themselves or by bodybuilders.
10 Genesis G70
The Genesis G70 is the Korean version of a premium compact executive sedan to compete against the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4, among others. It’s a great car with a striking design and an opulent-feeling interior.
The best thing about the G70 is that it is not only available in sedan form, but also in a shooting-brake body style. This adds to the design of the car and makes it more practical and family-friendly. The G70 wagon is only available with 4-cylinder engines and thus unfortunately loses the twin-turbo V6.
9 VW Arteon R Shooting Brake
The VW Arteon is a stylish sedan/hatchback from the German Volkswagen manufacturer† It was built to replace the Passat CC and is based on the same platform as the normal Passat. The Arteon is available with a range of 4-cylinder engines, the most powerful of which is the Golf R power unit.
The Arteon is also available in Europe as a shooting brake, but not only that, it can also be specified as an Arteon R Shooting Brake. This makes the car a brilliant sports version that can keep up with sports cars – all while carrying five people and their loads.
8 Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake Zagato
In 2014, Zagato unveiled their take on an Aston Martin car, the Virage Shooting Brake Zagato. It was based on the Virage – itself a redesigned DB9 – and had a modified body and new interior. The Virage Shooting Brake had the typical Aston Martin grille, but that’s where the similarities end.
The car doesn’t follow any other Aston Martin styling, with a more angular design with a longer hood and a distinctive tailgate. It is still equipped with the same 5.9 liter V12, which produced 490 hp in this application. The car was able to complete the sprint from 0-60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and would advance to a top speed of 183 mph. Not bad for a luxury GT car.
7 Maserati Quattroporte Bellagio Fastback
The Maserati Quattroporte Bellagio Fastback wasn’t a works model, but it would have been brilliant if it was. The Quattroporte Bellagio Fastback was custom built by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, based in Milan, Italy.
Four copies of the car have reportedly been built for customers, with powertrains and interior similar to the standard Quattroporte – only with a larger boot. In 2013, a Quattroporte Bellagio Fastback was sold by RM Sotheby’s for about $130,000 – about 1000% more than an equivalent used Quattroporte would have cost.
6 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake
The Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake is one of the smallest shooting brakes and smallest wagons for sale. It’s based on the CLA, the four-door coupe version of the A-Class Sedan – Mercedes certainly like their overly specific niches.
The CLA-Class Shooting Brake is a stylish and relatively compact car, ideal for cities and small towns. The CLA is available with a range of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, mated to seven- or eight-speed automatic transmissions, which go either to the front wheels only or to all four via Mercedes’ 4Matic system.
5 Ferrari FF
The Ferrari FF was the Italian brand’s first four-wheel drive car. But since Ferrari was Ferrari, it was an extremely complicated and unique four-wheel drive system with two output shafts, two transmissions and the whole system shuts down when the 5th gear is engaged.
Regardless of its complexity, this system proved itself and was still available on the FF’s replacement, the GTC4Lusso. The FF had all the traditional Ferrari features, including a massive 6.3 liter naturally aspirated V12 that produced 650 horsepower, making the FF the hottest hot hatch of the era (wink).
4 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake was the wagon version of the XF sedan and has been on sale since 2012. The Sportbrake was identical to the sedan in almost every way, except for the extended roofline that matches the body style of the car.
The Sportbrake could be equipped with all of the sedan’s engines, including the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 in XFR and XFR-S versions, resulting in a 550 horsepower vehicle with 502 lb-ft of torque. The XFR-S Sportbrake accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 286 km/h. The Jaguar XF Sportbrake had a higher payload than the equivalent BMW 5-Series Touring, Audi A6 Avant and Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake.
3 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
Porsche recently entered the automotive world with their Panamera Sport Turismo – a more practical version of the already pretty good Panamera. The Sport Turismo is almost identical to the standard Panamera, but the luggage space has been increased.
The Panamera Sport Turismo has the same powertrain options as the liftback, including the ridiculously powerful Turbo S e-Hybrid variant. The most popular version currently available is the Panamera 4 Sport Turismo S e-Hybrid, which has a V6 engine mated to a few electric motors, with power going to all four wheels.
2 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake
One of the most beautiful cars ever made, the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is a work of art to gaze at for hours. Part of four models designed by Zagato to celebrate the Vanquish, this shooting brake includes a Zagato coupe, convertible and speedster.
Zagato built 325 of these cars – 99 each for the coupe, convertible and shooting brake, leaving 28 speedsters. All cars were equipped with the 5.9 liter naturally aspirated V12 from the Vanquish S, good for 600 horsepower and a top speed of 320 mph.
1 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake
The Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting brake is one of the most beautiful wagons ever made† The flowing lines of the roof and side all come together to create an elegantly sporty car. The best version was the CLS63 AMG, which had some not-so-subtle AMG upgrades and styling improvements, giving the car a more sinister look.
The CLS63 AMG was equipped with the brilliant 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged M157 AMG V8, which produced between 520 and 577 hp depending on the AMG version. The Mercedes also had some unique options, including a wooden boot floor. It was things like this that made the CLS Shooting Brake the most expensive series production car in the world when it was produced, as well as one of the best.
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