Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 debuts with potent six-cylinder power, drift mode

Published Dec 6, 2023


Mercedes is taking its sleek new CLE Coupe into the performance realm with the debut of the first AMG version.

The CLE, revealed back in July, is a “two birds with one stone” kind of vehicle, simultaneously replacing the two-door versions of the previous C-Class and E-Class models.

Unlike the latest C sedan, the CLE is not capping its cylinder count at four, and there is already a CLE 450 4Matic model featuring Merc’s turbocharged straight-six.

And now the Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 4Matic has arrived to take that configuration to new levels of excitement.

Its thoroughly modified 3.0-litre engine combines a conventional exhaust gas turbocharger with an additional electric compressor to produce outputs of 330kW and 560Nm, with 600Nm momentarily available on overboost.

The mild hybrid model also has a 48-volt integrated starter generator that can briefly add 17kW and 205Nm to the tally.

With power going to all four wheels through an AMG Speedshift TCT 9-speed transmission and fully variable all-wheel drive system, the CLE 53 4Matic+ should run from 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds, according to claims.

If the AMG Dynamic Plus package has been opted for then the AWD system also has a “drift mode” that allows owners to indulge in some rear-wheel drive shenanigans, in a safe place of course!

Speaking of dynamics, the CLE 53 also has a unique AMG-developed steel suspension system as standard with adaptive damping and three adjustment modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport+.

A three-stage AMG speed-sensitive steering system with rear-axle steering is part of the deal too.

You’ll identify the CLE 53 by its AMG-specific grille with vertical slats as well as its A-shaped front apron, flared wheel arches, rear lip spoiler, aerodynamically enhanced rear diffuser and 19-inch AMG alloy wheels. If you think that’s too small, the company also offers 20-inch rims as an option.

Buyers can opt for an AMG styling package with black trim as well as an Optics package that includes additional flics on the front and rear apron as well as a more pronounced boot spoiler and diffuser board.

To make the cabin feel just as special, AMG has added a bespoke double-spoke steering wheel as well as glossy carbon trim and red seat belts for the AMG sports seats with integrated headrests and red stitching.

AMG Performance front seats with thicker bolsters are available as an option, and they can also be specified with colour-contrasting Nappa leather.

The electronics come in the form of Merc’s latest-generation MBUX infotainment system, liked to an 11.9-inch vertical screen and there’s a dynamic ambient lighting system with 64 colours.

So when can you buy one?

Mercedes South Africa says it’s aiming to bring the CLE AMG models to local showrooms in late 2024 or early 2025.