Fast compact estates - the next big thing?

At the moment, the only available high performance compact wagon is the Ford Focus ST. With a turbocharged 2.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine developing 246 bhp (184 kW / 250 PS) and 360 Nm (265 lb/ft) of torque on overboost, it can hit 154 mph (247 km/h) and do the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in 6.7 seconds.

But this tiny market segment is about to grow, as 2015 will see the arrival of the Volkswagen Golf R Estate and the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate (2015) Front Side
The Volkswagen Golf R Estate...

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake (2015) Front Side
...and the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake.
Scroll down for more images.

Like the hatchback version, the Golf R Estate features a turbocharged 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol motor. It produces 295 bhp (220 kW / 300 PS) with 380 Nm (280 lb/ft) and sends that output via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission to a 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

As a result, this particularly practical Volkswagen completes the 0-62 mph benchmark in just 5.1 seconds before going on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).

At first glance the CLA 45 AMG, which is based on the recently announced CLA-Class Shooting Brake, has a drivetrain specification that’s very similar to the R-spec Golf’s.

However, AMG engineers have managed to extract a very impressive 355 bhp (265 kW / 360 PS) and 450 Nm (322 lb/ft) from their 1,991 cc engine. Furthermore, the CLA boasts a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as well as the pretty much essential all-wheel drive.

Such a set-up is sufficient for a 0-62 mph time of 4.7 seconds. The power advantage isn’t reflected in the top speed figure though, as this is another car that’s electronically limited to 155 mph.

So clearly both newcomers are significantly quicker than the Ford. They’re also going to be a lot more expensive, too.

While prices for the Focus ST start at £23,295, expect the Golf R Estate to cost at least £33,000. Buying a CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake will probably involve an outlay in excess of £43,000.

Given those amounts, all three models realistically appeal to separate customer groups, and sales volumes for the Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz should be very modest indeed.

Nevertheless, it’ll be intriguing to see whether other manufacturers decide that this niche is worth exploiting. How about a Renault Mégane Renaultsport 265 Sport Tourer or a Vauxhall Astra VXR Sports Tourer, for example?

Volkswagen Golf R Estate (2015) InteriorVolkswagen Golf R Estate (2015) Rear Side

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake (2015) Rear SideMercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake (2015) Interior

Related posts:
Volkswagen unveils the Golf Alltrack
A 45 AMG vs. its rivals

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