- Mercedes has launched a new coupe called the CLE that takes over the two-door versions of the C-class and E-class, both of which are being discontinued after 2023.
- The CLE300 uses a 255-hp turbo inline-four while the CLE450 upgrades to a 375-hp turbo inline-six, and both feature electric assistance from an integrated starter generator.
- The cabin is almost identical to that of the current C-class, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and an 11.9-inch central touchscreen.
Mercedes-Benz is downsizing its coupe lineup, with its latest two-door effort, the 2024 CLE-class, replacing two recently discontinued models, the C-class and E-class coupes. The CLE comes with a stylish, streamlined design, a pair of electric powertrains, and a tech-focused interior that borrows from the C-class and E-class sedans. The CLE goes on sale in the US in early 2024, with a cabriolet variant coming later.
The styling mixes elements from the latest C and E class cars. The LED headlights and sleek trapezoidal grille reflect the C-class while the full-width taillights (actually two lights linked by dark red trim pieces) echo the E-class look. The bodywork is typical Mercedes, with smooth and flowing surfaces punctuated by sharp lines at the sides and sculpted bumpers. The grille design consists of dozens of small Mercedes-Benz three-pointed stars.
Measuring 191 inches from bumper to bumper, the CLE is longer than the outgoing E-class coupe but stretches 6.5 inches further than the C-class coupe. The extra length is almost entirely at the top, with the CLE’s 112.8-inch wheelbase within an inch of both -two predecessors. Mercedes claims there is more cabin space than the previous C-class coupe and says the trunk can fit three golf bags.
The base CLE300 is powered by the same M254 engine found in the C300 and E350 sedans, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Upgrading to the CLE450 brings the M256 motor from the E450 sedan, a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that puts out 375 hp and 369 lb-ft. Both powertrains include an integrated starter generator that runs on a 48-volt electrical system, with the electric motor providing a boost of 23 hp and 148 lb-ft. This extra oomph is included at low rpm to reduce turbo lag and smooth out the start/stop system.
In both models, power is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, which houses the electric motor, power electronics and transmission cooler to save space and weight. Front and rear suspension use a multi-link design, and the CLE450 comes standard with a stiffer sport-tuned suspension, also offered on the AMG package for the CLE300.
The cabin looks almost identical to that of the current C-class, with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 11.9-inch central touchscreen angled slightly towards the driver, as well as the same round air vents. The CLE skips the third screen for front passengers, which is optional on the E-class. The flat-bottom steering wheel is wrapped in leather, and the front seats—designed specifically for the CLE—are heated and with four-way lumbar support as standard. Seat ventilation and a seven-zone massage function are optional. The CLE also comes with a standard 17-speaker Burmester surround sound system with Dolby Atmos, which allows “individual instruments or voices to be placed around the listening area” with compatible songs on Apple Music.
Although the screen layout is borrowed from the C-class, the display uses the interface seen on the 2024 E-class, with new icons for important functions that can be accessed directly. The latest MBUX infotainment system allows customers to download third-party apps: TikTok, Angry Birds, Webex and Zoom are available at launch. There is also a built-in entertainment suite with streaming video and local programming including sports and news. Mercedes has integrated a major music streaming platform into the infotainment system, which can be linked to individual profiles. The infotainment profile can be transferred to other Mercedes vehicles with the latest MBUX system.
As with the E-class 2024, Mercedes is implementing artificial intelligence to learn the comfort systems used by the driver at certain times and in certain conditions, and then will run these systems automatically. This includes everything from navigation to specific addresses to climate control settings to birthday reminders. Users can also create templates that support their routines—Mercedes suggests a “Cold Day” template that turns on the heated seats and turns the ambient lights orange, or a “Date Night” preset that plays romantic music and turns the interior lighting pink .
The CLE will feature remote start and remote unlock/lock features, as well as hands-free access to the trunk by waving your foot in front of the rear bumper sensors. The voice assistant now includes a setting where it will always listen for commands without being activated by the keyword “Hey Mercedes”—it only works if you’re alone in the car. The CLE comes packed with driver assistance systems, with lane keeping assist, active brake assist and traffic sign recognition as standard. Additional packages add adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, steering assist and lane change, and more.
No word yet on pricing, which should be released closer to the 2024 on-sale date. The 2023 C300 coupe starts at $50,600 while the 2023 E450 coupe costs $70,800. We expect the CLE300 to start around $60,000, while the CLE450 should start closer to $70,000.
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Associate News Editor
Caleb Miller started blogging about cars at age 13, and he realized his dream of writing for a car magazine after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University and joining Car and Driver team. He loves quirky and obscure cars, aspires to own something outlandish like a Nissan S-Cargo, and is an avid motorsport fan.