We Must Not Let Carmakers Ruin The Shooting Brake

Is there no term the auto industry hasn't ruined? Coupes are now increasingly "four-door coupes," which is a fancy term for less practical sedans. Proper wagons have morphed into either swoopy sportwagons, "touring" models, or cladded and jacked-up faux SUVs. And most SUVs are now crossovers, or elevated cars that would have trouble navigating a polo field.

The shooting brake used to be one of the untouched automotive niches. And by niche I mean there weren't that many of them. The Volvo P1800ES comes to the mind of most Americans, but there was also the fantastically interesting Reliant Scimitar GTE. Recently there's the Ferrari FF, which, if you get over the fact it's a Ferrari wagon, is a gorgeous piece of design from most angles. And you could even call the Volvo C30 a shooting brake, because it's essentially a chopped, swoopier two-door Volvo V50.

We Must Not Let Carmakers Ruin The Shooting Brake

Leave it to the Germans, though, to exploit a market segment, however thin. First there was the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake, pictured above, which the company announced at the same time they denied the opportunity for US customers to reject it themselves. Granted, it's based off the CLS, which the company describes as a four-door coupe. And a shooting brake is technically a coupe with a wagon rear end. But since a four-door coupe really doesn't exist, what Mercedes really made is a CLS station wagon, or a less-practical E-Class wagon. A shooting brake, it is not.

The news a few days ago Porsche is considering turning the Panamera into a shooting brake worries me. Adding a wagon rear end to its already unlovely hatch won't really help, especially if Autocar's rendering is to be trusted. What Porsche should really do is make a two-door Panamera, stick an FF-like rear end on it and call it a 928. I'd put a picture of that on my bedroom wall.

We Must Not Let Carmakers Ruin The Shooting Brake

If automakers go around making ugly shooting brakes, then that niche will be ruined. And I just won't stand for that. I can put up with the world's Acura ZDXs and Nissan Murano CrossCabriolets, but a shooting brake is sacred. Can we keep them special, please?

Photos credit Mercedes-Benz, exfordy, Georg Schwalbach, DryHeatPanzer