The new CLE will be offered in coupe and convertible form and with a range of powertrains borrowed from the C-Class
An all-new Mercedes is in the works and is set for an introduction in 2023. Called the CLE it’ll act as a replacement for the two-door versions of both the C-Class and E-Class, being offered as a coupe and a convertible.
We’ve seen the new Mercedes CLE testing around the Nurburgring plenty of times, suggesting the car will be positioned as a more sporty offering within the Mercedes lineup than the coupes and convertibles it replaces. In terms of rivals, the standard CLE model will have to contend with the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series in the compact executive sector.
- Mercedes C-Class gets performance tweaks with Brabus B30 and D30 models
The latest round of spy pictures show a hot AMG-developed 63 model will sit at the top of the CLE range to compete against the Audi RS 5 and BMW M4. The test car wears thin camouflage, revealing some new design features. Like other AMG models, the CLE 63 will get a bespoke grille and a larger air intake in the lower bumper. The slightly slimmer headlight cluster remains.
The wheel arches are also wider than on non-AMG test cars – something we saw on the CLE 43 convertible variant previously. The new rear light unit is visible as is a larger duck tail style spoiler and quad-exhaust set up – a classic trait of a Mercedes-AMG model.
We’ve seen non-AMG CLE versions testing before, in coupe and convertible form. They will get small wheels, a different grille and towards the rear, hidden exhaust tips. The AMG 43 version we spied features twin-exit exhaust tips. Unlike the C-Class and E-Class, the rear number plate sits on the rear bumper rather than the bootlid.
As for the CLE convertible, Mercedes has favoured the use of a fabric roof in its drop-tops of late and the CLE will adhere to this approach. The overall proportions of the test cars we’ve spotted look typically Mercedes, so we’re not expecting a drastic change of design language for the newcomer.
The multiple CLEs we’ve spotted testing suggest that the final production car should look almost identical to our exclusive images. There won’t be much to differentiate the coupe and cabriolet visually, aside from the latter’s folding fabric roof, of course.
We’ve not seen inside the new CLE just yet but we expect the cabin to follow a similar layout to the latest Mercedes C-Class. This would mean a new infotainment system running the same MBUX software introduced in the current S-Class. It should be displayed on an 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, an 11.9-inch touchscreen. The screens will be separated from each other, rather than connected like the display Mercedes is using for its all-electric EQ models.
Head-up display technology will also be available, but not the augmented reality HUD system found in the luxury S-Class. The latest MBUX system can also receive over-the-air updates from Mercedes.
The Mercedes model portfolio reached a high of 50 vehicles in 2020 and brand executives have spoken in the past of a need to reduce complexity, especially with the rollout of the all-electric EQ range. Speaking earlier in that year, Mercedes Chief Technology Officer Marcus Schafer pointed to the brand’s convertible offerings as being “high density”, with the recently axed SLC, C-Class Cabriolet and E-Class Cabriolet all vying for space in a market that isn’t a big money maker.
However, Schafer admitted that from a branding perspective the coupe and cabriolet models are important; for a premium car company such as Mercedes, being in this space lays down an important marker.
“We want to focus on these models,” he explained. “They have their niche and their purpose. That’s why we are going to tailor exactly the right vehicle in this segment. There’s more to come on the coupé and cabriolet side in this mid-segment but it’s going to take a little bit more time before we can speak about it.”
The brand has already reinvented the full-size SL as a sportier and more purposeful offering using a new platform developed by AMG. The CLE is likely to be based on the same MRA-2 platform as the new C-Class and S-Class, rather than the SL’s new architecture. The flexibility of MRA-2 means that four and six-cylinder power is possible, appealing to the CLE’s likely buyer.
The latest C-Class is a four-cylinder only affair and it’s likely the CLE line-up will be, too. The new C 63 model takes on a high-performance four-cylinder hybrid engine derived from the M139 2.0-litre turbo engine used in the A 45 superhatch. It’s possible we could see the C 63’s 671bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain make its way over to the CLE 63, with a smaller body the CLE could be quicker too.
Check out our pick of the best convertibles to buy now…
Source: Read Full Article