Navigating the northern shores of Spain near San Sebastian, as the morning sun casts its glow over the Atlantic, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe unveils itself in all its grandeur. This car embodies the essence of grand touring, standing as a worthy successor to the E-Class Coupe luxury cruiser it is set to replace.
Mercedes-Benz positions the CLE-Class as a replacement for both the midsize E-Class and the compact C-Class coupes, and is also planning to introduce a convertible version. However, the vehicle leans more towards the E-Class in its dimensions. Far from being an intermediate size, the CLE is actually slightly larger than its E-Class predecessor, while borrowing the C-Class’s sporty essence and interior design.
Dimensions and Exterior Overview
Measuring 191.0 inches in length, the CLE Coupe is marginally longer than the 2023 model, extending 6.5 inches beyond the retiring C-Class Coupe. Its 112.8-inch wheelbase is a mere 0.3 inch shorter than that of the outgoing E-Class, while outpacing the C-Class by an inch. Other exterior specifications closely align with those of the previous E-Class model.
Despite its generous size, the CLE is engineered for enhanced sportiness. According to Mercedes-Benz, consultation with both C- and E-Class Coupe owners revealed that C-Class owners sought more prestige, while E-Class aficionados desired enhanced agility. As a result, the CLE-Class is designed to offer the size and aesthetics of the E-Class combined with the dynamism of the C-Class.
I had the opportunity to drive the CLE 450 4Matic, slated to be the flagship model at its launch in the first half of 2024. While future AMG versions are expected, this European model features rear-axle steering and adaptive dampers not available in the U.S. specification. Nevertheless, the tuning provides a glimpse into what prospective American buyers can anticipate.
The vehicle comes equipped with adaptive dampers that offer Comfort and Sport settings, as well as a Sport+ option accessible via a programmable Individual drive mode. Standard on all CLE models are four-link front and five-link rear suspensions. For U.S. models, passive dampers are planned. Ride height is reduced by 0.6 inches compared to the E-Class sedan, and the 450 model features a sporty configuration for its springs, dampers, anti-roll bars, and bushings.
On European roads, the Comfort setting softens the suspension to a level some might find excessive, taking a moment to regain composure during lane changes and turns. However, switching to Sport tightens the vehicle’s responses, while Sport+ offers even quicker reactions at the expense of ride comfort over uneven surfaces.
Power and Handling
Beneath the sculpted hood of the CLE 450 4Matic resides a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine generating 375 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. An integrated starter-generator can supplement up to an additional 23 hp and 151 lb-ft at lower revolutions. While not an AMG variant, the CLE 450 4Matic still boasts an impressive 0-62 mph time of 4.4 seconds, although the top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph.
The nine-speed automatic transmission is well-suited for spirited driving. While in Sport mode, the gearbox maintains lower gears for prompt power delivery upon exiting corners, yet avoids revving too aggressively, thereby preserving a sense of refinement.
Interior and Features
The CLE’s interior is inherited from the current C-Class, featuring a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and an 11.9-inch touchscreen for the MBUX infotainment system. Amenities include heated sport seats with power adjustments, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, a Burmester audio system, 64 shades of ambient lighting, and a panoramic sunroof.
Material choices range from synthetic leather to optional nappa leather with perforated diamond designs, complemented by various wood and metal trims. While not fully matching the standard set by the E-Class, the cabin exhibits high quality and thoughtful assembly.
Pricing details for the CLE-Class are yet to be announced, but the vehicle has already been released in Europe at a price point slightly lower than the outgoing E-Class Coupe. For those who find themselves on a winding coastal route, perhaps against the backdrop of a rising or setting sun, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe promises a grand tour to remember.
Travel and accommodations for this review were provided by AutoMotorMart.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe Review
What is the 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe positioned to replace?
The 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe is designed to replace both the midsize E-Class and the compact C-Class coupes. It embodies features from both classes, offering the size and look of the E-Class along with the sporty dynamics of the C-Class.
How does the CLE Coupe compare in size to the E-Class and C-Class?
The 2024 CLE Coupe is slightly larger than the outgoing E-Class coupe. It measures 191.0 inches in length, which is 0.6 inch longer than the 2023 model and 6.5 inches longer than the outgoing C-Class Coupe. The wheelbase is 112.8 inches, marginally shorter than the last E-Class but an inch longer than the C-Class.
What engine options are available for the CLE Coupe?
The top model, the CLE 450 4Matic, is equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that produces 375 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It also includes an integrated starter-generator that can add up to 23 hp and 151 lb-ft at low revs. The entry-level CLE 300 4Matic has a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that offers 255 hp and 295 lb-ft, also aided by an integrated starter-generator.
What is the focus of the CLE Coupe’s driving dynamics?
The CLE Coupe is tuned for a sportier feel, incorporating the wants and needs of both C- and E-Class Coupe owners. While it retains the luxurious grand touring nature often associated with the E-Class, it has been engineered to offer a more dynamic, sportier drive like that of the C-Class.
What are some notable interior features of the 2024 CLE Coupe?
The interior of the CLE Coupe features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 11.9-inch touchscreen running the MBUX infotainment system. It also offers heated sport seats with power adjustments, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, and a Burmester audio system, among others.
How does the CLE Coupe fare in terms of pricing?
Although Mercedes has not yet announced pricing for the U.S. market, the CLE Coupe is already on sale in Europe and is priced a few thousand euros less than the outgoing E-Class Coupe.
What is the source of this review?
The review was conducted by AutoMotorMart, who received travel and lodging support from Mercedes to provide this firsthand report.
More about 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe Review
- Mercedes-Benz Official Site
- 2023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe Overview
- 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe Overview
- MBUX Infotainment System Features
- AutoMotorMart Official Site
- European Car Market Statistics
- U.S. Automotive Market Trends
- Introduction to Integrated Starter-Generators
- Comparison of Luxury Coupe Models
- Adaptive Dampers Explained