Mercedes-Benz CLE revealed: sleek new coupe that wants to multi-task

Published Jul 6, 2023


If you’re a modern car company, investing in the ‘electric revolution’ is more of a necessity than a choice.

Problem is, doing so leaves you with far less funding to build many of the internal combustion (ICE) cars you always prided yourself on.

It’s no surprise then, that Mercedes-Benz is cutting down on the number of ICE models that it offers, yet that doesn’t mean it’s giving up on the two-door products altogether.

But consolidation has become a necessity, and hence we now get to drool over the long-awaited CLE Coupé, which replaces both the previous C-Class and E-Class two-door models. It aims to be more luxurious than the former but sportier than the latter...

Although its 4 850mm wheelbase is identical to the latest C-Class, the new CLE is almost 100mm longer, making it even bigger than the latest E-Class front to back.

Its overall design is very much in tune with the smaller sedan, however, and the same goes for its interior, but beneath the bonnet it doesn’t stick to the four-cylinder downsizing rule that the C-Class strictly prescribes to.

To that end, Mercedes CLE customers can look forward to the company’s 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged powerplant, which produces 280kW and 500Nm in the CLE 450 4Matic model, thanks in part to a mild-hybrid electric boost. There’s no mention of an AMG derivative as yet, but that’s likely to be announced sooner rather than later.

Of course, the CLE is also available with the familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol, which pounds out 150kW in the CLE 200 and 190kW in the CLE 300 4Matic model. There’s a CLE 220d too, for diesel-heads, and this oil-burner offers up 145kW and 440Nm.

All engines pair up with a nine-speed 9G-Tronic gearbox and integrated starter motor generator, while 4Matic all-wheel drive features on most models.

The interior mimics the C-Class, as mentioned, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 11.9-inch vertical central display and ambient lighting with 64 colours.

The Mercedes CLE also gets its own unique front sports seats, which incorporate speakers from the Burmester 3D surround sound system in the headrests, assuming you’ve ticked the fancier sound system on the options list.

As for the electronic bits, the new CLE incorporates the latest-generation MBUX operating system, inheriting many digital innovations from the new E-Class sedan, and this apparently makes it the most advanced Mercedes coupe to date.

There’s also a Convertible version on the horizon, as some of the pictures in the gallery above this story will reveal to you, but more details on that will no doubt be divulged at a later stage.

IOL Motoring