New Coupe Threads a Fine Line Between C-Class & E-Class

There’s a reason Mercedes-Benz insisted on selling the fourth-gen C-Class coupe and convertible despite introducing the all-new fifth-gen C-Class in 2022. The 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE is the answer, an all-new nameplate for the three-pointed star that slides between the C-Class and E-Class but with two fewer doors. The CLE intends to answer the needs of premium buyers who want a sporty and more compact Mercedes coupe but with the roomy interior of a four-door E-Class sedan.

2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE: What’s New?

The German automaker calls it “the largest coupe in the midsize segment.” The CLE is about 6.5 inches longer than the outgoing C-Class Coupe and has a longer wheelbase, while it extends over the old E-Class Coupe by an inch. The growth spurt and marginal proportions have freed up more head, knee, and shoulder room in the back row, while the trunk has enough space to swallow up to three golf bags.

Moreover, the CLE’s design is a mishmash of styling cues from the new C-Class and E-Class. Like the latter, the CLE has a cab-backward design with shorter front overhangs, longer rear overhangs, muscular shoulders, and an extended hood. The CLE will arrive in a coupe or cabriolet body, but the former will arrive first at U.S. dealerships in early 2024.

Potent Hybridized Powertrains

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE will debut in two variants: CLE 300 4MATIC and CLE 450 4MATIC. Both feature mild-hybrid powertrains headlined by a turbocharged four or six-cylinder engine. The CLE 300 4MATIC has the brand’s M254 engine, a blown 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine with 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. It’s typically the same engine in the current C 300 and E 250.

Meanwhile, the CLE 450 receives the M256 3.0-liter turbo inline-six from the E450, churning out 375 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. Both engines feature 48-volt electronics and an integrated starter-generator (ISG) electric motor that delivers 23 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque as needed, enough to eliminate turbo lag while boosting low-rpm performance.

Both CLE variants feature an all-wheel drivetrain and a 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic. The CLE’s transmission has the ISG, power electronics, and gearbox cooler in an integrated assembly to save space while reducing weight.

2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE
2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE (European model). Photo: MBUSA.

Sporty Low Rider

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE is not a cool-looking low rider, but it does sit more than half an inch lower than a standard C-Class sedan. Underneath its shapely, two-door body is a four-link front and multi-link rear suspension with comfort-oriented tuning for the CLE 300 4MATIC. However, the CLE 450 4MATIC has a stiffer suspension for a more exhilarating drive.

Elegant Yet Sporty Cabin

While the CLE’s body panels are reminiscent of the C-Class and E-Class, the interior is all C-Class with its 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and 11.9-inch vertical touchscreen. The seats are worth mentioning since they’re bespoke to the all-new CLE and have built-in speakers (two in each front seat) to complement the standard 17-speaker Burmester 3D surround audio system.

The CLE 450 4MATIC has the standard AMG Line package that adds black MB-TEX materials around the instrument panels and beltlines. Buyers can choose from various interior fabrics and colors, including quilted and perforated Nappa leather, open-pore black wood veneers, aluminum inlays, walnut wood, and more.

Of course, the CLE features the MBUX infotainment system with online music streaming capabilities, a voice assistant, user personalization, and Android compatibility for third-party apps like Zoom, Angry Birds, or TikTok (for some reason).

2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Safety Features

The CLE wouldn’t be a Mercedes without a typical array of blazing-new safety technology. The standard driving aids include attention assist, lane keeping assist, brake assist, speed limit assist, and a reverse camera. In addition, the optional Driving Assistance Package adds more safety nets like active steering assist, braking assist, lane changing assist, and active blind spot monitoring, among others.

2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Starting MSRP

Mercedes-Benz is not yet ready to discuss pricing, but it promised to announce the starting MSRPs closer to the intended launch date. However, we reckon the base prices to start at about $65,000 for the CLE 300 and around $73,000 for the CLE 450. The first deliveries for the CLE hardtop coupe will commence in early 2024, while the CLE Cabriolet will follow midyear.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

Photos & Source: MBUSA.


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