Mercedes-Benz CLE Is a Rational Car in an Emotional Market

German automaker has replaced two coupés with one. As a result, the CLE defends its presence in the segment with stunning looks and plenty of tech

2023 Mercedes-Benz CLE
2023 Mercedes-Benz CLE (source: Mercedes-Benz)

While everyone loves the elegance of a cabriolet and the sportiness of a coupé, few people actually buy them. Automakers love to build them as well, but they cannot argue with the coldness of sales figures. The CLE was a smart move for Mercedes-Benz to stay present in such a dwindling segment.

This all-new model will replace both the C-Class and the E-Class in its Coupé and Cabriolet versions. The company wants to concentrate two audiences, so it packed the car with the best it has to offer to date. It expects the CLE to sell enough to prosper and keep its segment alive over the next years.

Where does the Mercedes Benz CLE Fit In?

It stays between those two models. You will find a more elegant and poised car than the outgoing sporty C-Class, yet nimbler and less stoic than the last E-Class. Then again, we are talking about a Mercedes-Benz model: do not expect to see any blatant subversions of its current design language.

Both body styles have two doors and seat four people. The Cabriolet has an upper region of its own and preserves the soft top of its predecessors. While BMW’s 4 Series offers a more aggressive style, especially at the front end, the Mercedes-Benz CLE becomes a serene and conservative competitor.

2023 Mercedes-Benz CLE Cabriolet
2023 Mercedes-Benz CLE Cabriolet (source: Mercedes-Benz)

What will I find inside?

Four individual seats wrapped in the company’s latest technologies. Large screens for gauge cluster and infotainment system, MBUX interface, ambient lighting, aluminum and carbon-fiber inserts… it features everything to dazzle you through all senses. That soft top may come in a contrasting color.

The Cabriolet version stands out by adding a retractable air deflector above the windshield, and a vertical air shield behind the rear seats. While those items harm the smoothness of the CLE’s style, they are essential to keep all passengers comfortable with the top down, even at Autobahn speeds.

Mercedes-Benz CLE performance

The C-Class design is paired with gasoline and diesel engines borrowed from the E-Class. All options feature mild-hybrid assistance and a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Most of them use a turbo-four 2.0L unit, starting at 197 hp burning diesel, and 201 hp burning gasoline. All-wheel drive is optional.

For now, the fastest option is the CLE 450, which uses a six-cylinder 3.0L to deliver 376 hp of power and 369 lb-ft of torque. It reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds, which is similar to what both predecessors offered. Then again, all car enthusiasts know there is much more to come over time.

2023 Mercedes-Benz CLE
2023 Mercedes-Benz CLE (source: Mercedes-Benz)

What about the AMG versions?

The company has only shown the AMG Line package so far. Although there are many third party sellers (like that sell genuine parts offering maximum performance in aerodynamics, braking, physical comfort, and style. You can use these to customize and make the CLE even better.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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