With its all-new CLE Coupé – which launches in Europe next November – Mercedes-Benz has presented motorists with a total newcomer to their model range: a two-door coupé whose twofold purpose will be to attract a new generation of coupé owners, whilst replacing two long-established models, the C-Class Coupé and E-Class coupé, both of which are being discontinued.
At full stretch, the CLE Coupé range will have three models: CLE 220, CLE 300 and CLE 450. Within the mix, choice will include 4-and 6- cylinder versions, mild hybrid petrol and diesel units, 9-speed automatic transmission, 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and AMG variants. As it expands, plug-in hybrid and open-top cabriolet versions will be added.
At launch, mild hybrid models are: a 255hp four-cylinder CLE 300 and a 375hp three-litre, six-cylinder CLE 450 4Matic, both equipped with integrated starter-generator running on a 48-volt electrical system that provides an extra 23hp boost to reduce turbo lag and smooth-out the start/stop function when the engine is running at low speed. In both models, 9-speed automatic transmission and four wheel drive are available with multilink front and rear suspension. A stiffer sport-tuned suspension, standard on the CLE450, is offered on the CLE 300 with AMG package.
Viewed in silhouette, its streamlined appearance and athletic coupé proportions are most evident, accentuated by a dynamic character line, steeply sloping windscreen and long roof that slopes towards the rear. Its sporty proportions are most evident, reflected in its 15mm lower posture (1,428mm), long wheelbase (2,865mm), short overhangs (888mm front/1,090mm rear). Powerful wheel arches accommodate 18-inch to 20-inch alloy wheels depending on model, with ten different exterior colours that facilitate individual customisation.
Its aerodynamic front end has a pronounced appearance. Features of note are its low-slung, forward-leaning bonnet with two contoured power domes. New wrap-around LED high performance headlights add to its sporty looks, with a new three-dimensional radiator grille with centre star, louvre and a vision of tiny ‘stars’ familiar on other Mercedes-Benz models. Striking rear lights and uncluttered, seamless bodywork blend to remind following traffic that a car of note is ahead.
Inside, tech-focused features include a 312mm fully digital instrument cluster and a 302mm central touchscreen display, angled towards the driver. New electronic architecture delivers fast 5G data transmission. Seats designed for the CLE – covered with sustainably-processed, vegetable-tanned leather – are heated with four-way lumbar support as standard. Its flat-bottomed steering wheel is wrapped in leather.
Billed as the ‘most intelligent coupé with the star’, its many occupant and driver comfort features include the latest third-generation MBUX infotainment system with a new level of personalisation, automated convenience functions, and third-party apps download. Voice assistance can be accessed via its ‘Hey Mercedes’ command function. Other features include a 17-speaker surround-sound system, remote start, proximity lock/unlock, hands-free boot access, numerous driver-assistance systems, and mood-soothing interior ambient lighting in 64 colour choices.