You’ll likely be familiar with the most common bodystyles of cars. There are popular hatchbacks, SUVs, saloon cars and estates.
But there’s an increasingly diverse range of different vehicles available, one of these being the shooting brake. It’s a term you might have heard before, but one that you might not be familiar with. Let’s explain.
What is a shooting brake?
Historically, if we go back a few hundred years, a shooting brake was a horse-drawn wagon used to transport hunters and their gear.
In the 1950s and 1960s, however, the name made a comeback on more practical versions of two-door models, such as when an estate car-like body was used on a two-door car – Aston Martin created the DB5 Shooting Brake in the ‘60s, for example.
But in more modern times, the shooting brake has been adopted for sleeker and less boxy versions of estate cars – with Volkswagen and Mercedes both using the name for their cars.
What are the advantages of shooting brakes?
Coming from a modern point of view, estate cars aren’t known for their desirability – typically being bought for practical purposes above all else, something that’s not always seen as ‘cool’. There are exceptions, of course.
So manufacturers often call their cars ‘shooting brakes’ in a bid to make their cars seem more stylish, elegant and appealing to those that buy a car based on its design. It’s really style that is the main reason for purchasing one over an estate, as they often have a practicality penalty.
What are some examples of current shooting brakes?
Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake
Mercedes was the first brand in more modern times to use the Shooting Brake name – first on its CLS executive car, which arrived in 2013.
It was later introduced to the more compact CLA – a four-door coupe in its ‘standard’ form. This is now the only Mercedes Shooting Brake on offer, offering a more spacious alternative to a regular estate, but remaining practical. Plug-in hybrid versions, as well as sporty AMG versions, are available.
Volkswagen adopted the Shooting Brake nameplate in 2020 for a more practical version of its Arteon fastback.
Arguably VW’s most stylish model, the Arteon Shooting Brake is a surprisingly practical choice, with plug-in hybrid and a faster ‘R’ version also offered.
Kia has been showing a more style-led side to things in recent years, with the Proceed arriving in 2019 as possibly the brand’s best-looking car yet.
Though not using the ‘shooting brake’ name, it adopts a similar policy to Mercedes and Volkswagen in terms of design, albeit at a more affordable price, with the Proceed starting from £26,645.
Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo
Porsche has been introducing more stylish estate-like versions of its cars in recent years. But they’re not called ‘estates’, but rather a ‘Sport Turismo’, a shape more in-line with a modern-day shooting brake.
Sport Turismo bodystyles are available on both Porsche’s Panamera as well as the electric Taycan
Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake
From a purist's point of view, it’s really only Aston Martin that has offered the closest thing to a ‘shooting brake’ in recent years, with its Vanquish Zagato.
This ultra-exclusive model was coachbuilt by Italian design house Zagato, with only 99 models being produced – each using a 580bhp 5.9-litre naturally-aspirated V12. Sold in 2019, these models can fetch up to half a million pounds these days.