Harry Leahey

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Mercedes has begun streamlining its lineup of ICE-powered models with the introduction of the new Mercedes CLE - a coupé which replaces the two-door versions of both the C-Class and E-Class. 

In addition to the hardtop, which will arrive in November, there will be a convertible version to follow in 2024, plus a performance-focused AMG model. 

Pricing details have yet to be disclosed, though it’s anticipated that the CLE will have a starting price of approximately £50,000.

Positioned between the C-Class and E-Class, the CLE aims to combine the best features of both models. In terms of dimensions, it is longer than the outgoing E-Class Coup but shares the same width and sits slightly lower.

The front-end design of the CLE bears more resemblance to the C-Class than the new EQE-inspired E-Class. It showcases LED headlights, a variation of Mercedes' Panamerica grille and prominent bonnet bulges. There are also some fake twin exhaust tips, a diffuser and rear air vents.

Inside features a large 12.3-inch central touchscreen, incorporating the latest MBUX infotainment system, plus an 11.9-inch driver's display.

Notably, this system introduces Mercedes' new routines function, which learns the driver's habits and can automatically adjust climate control and ambient lighting based on past interactions with the car. 

Due to its slightly shorter wheelbase compared to the E-Class Coupé, the boot capacity of 420 litres is 5 litres less than the two-door E-Class. However, it still delivers a 60-litre increase over the previous C-Class Coupé.

In terms of powertrains, the CLE will be available with one diesel engine and four petrol engines. All of these engines are 2.0-litre units with mild-hybrid power, and are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, a plug-in hybrid variant will be introduced to the lineup at a later stage.

The entry-level CLE 220 d boasts 197bhp and 440Nm of torque, enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 7.5 seconds. The integrated starter generator remains consistent across all models, allowing for minor power boosts and energy recuperation. With the second-generation ISG system, the power output reaches 23bhp and 200Nm of torque. 

For petrol options, the CLE 200 leads the pack with 204bhp and 320Nm of torque, providing a 0-63 mph sprint in 7.6. Mercedes claims a fuel efficiency figure of 44.1mpg for the CLE 200, compared to 60.1mpg for the 220 d.  This engine can also be fitted with Mercedes' 4MATIC four-wheel drive system, which can shave 0.1 seconds off the 0-62mph time. 

Making 258bhp and 400Nm of torque, the CLE 300 4MATIC meanwhile can reach 62mph in 6.2 seconds, before reaching its electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. 

Until the AMG version arrives is the range-topping CLE 450 4MATIC. This delivers  381bhp and 500Nm of torque - enough to launch the car from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds. 

As a standard feature, the CLE boasts a lowered suspension by 15mm compared to the E-Class. There's also an optional  "Dynamic Body Control" package, which enables the CLE's rear wheels to turn by up to 2.5 degrees. 

Safety features include attention assist, active brake assist, lane-keeping assist, speed limit warning and a reversing camera. An optional "Advanced Plus" package adds blind spot assist and traffic sign recognition.

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Harry Leahey 06/07/23