Sometimes less is more. In an automotive world full of fine-tuned, niche-market choices, you can get anything from a hyper-exotic Ferrari, to a truck that looks and drives like a car, to a car that looks and drives like a truck and back again. As the savvy premium carmaker they always have been, Mercedes-Benz has realized this and has decided to eliminate both the C- and E-Class Coupes and instead bring us the brand new and stunning 2024 CLE Coupe.
While some may fret that their beloved C-Class or E-Class Coupe will be no more, one look at the CLE Coupe, and those fears will abate rapidly. Designed with what Mercedes-Benz calls its Sensual Purity philosophy, the 2024 CLE elicits a visceral reaction from onlookers. Smooth yet powerful, the long-hoot/short-deck blueprint has worked for Mercedes-Benz, and plenty of other automakers, harking all the way back to the 300SL Gullwing of the ’50s. The CLE’s “shark nose” front end sports a 3-D radiator grill bookended by wraparound LED headlamps set high on the hood. Smooth yet muscular lines flow seamlessly to the sculpted, but not overdone rear end.
With its overall length of 191 inches, the CLE is almost seven inches longer than the C-Class Coupe and just over half an inch wider than the E-Class. At 73.2 inches wide, the CLE is precisely the same width as the E-Class it replaces and a full two inches wider than the C-Class. At 56.2 inches high, the CLE is almost a full inch taller than the C and about a tenth of an inch shorter than the E. Even the CLE’s wheelbase of 112.8 inches sits about an inch longer than the C, and a third of an inch less than the E, showing that the CLE is almost the perfect compromise between the two outgoing models.
Inside, the 2024 CLE Coupe offers to take the driver wherever they need to go in style, while offering an aesthetic that’s designed for the future. The high-end premium interior is highlighted by a large 12.3-inch configurable digital display as well as a centrally-mounted 11.9-inch digital infotainment touchscreen featuring the latest generation of MBUX that uses 5G data transmission for instant updates and downloads.
The interior continues to impress with new sports seats, designed specifically for the CLE, that feature heat and ventilation and a four-way lumbar support standard. A 17-speaker Burmester 3D stereo system works in conjunction with any one of 64 colors to create the perfect ambient mood both from an audio and visual standpoint.
The CLE will be initially offered with two engine options, both as mild-hybrids. The CLE 300 4MATIC is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that makes 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque on its own and then, when combined with its electric motor, adds an additional 23 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.
The more powerful CLE 450 4MATIC gets a larger 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that makes an impressive 375 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque on its own, while the electric motor kicks in the same 23 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque as with the CLE 300. No official acceleration numbers are available (as of this writing), but MB says the CLE’s top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph.
While the official price has yet to be released for the 2024 CLE Coupe, given how the car is the perfect midpoint between the current C-Class and E-Class Coupes, we can reasonably expect the CLE’s base price to fall somewhere between the $49,550 base price for the C-Class Coupe and the $69,750 base price for the E-Class Coupe. Whatever the cost, the true reward future owners get is never having to choose between two great Mercedes-Benz cars again, and instead, with less choice, they can now get the best of both worlds (at least until the CLE Convertible comes along).
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