2024 Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Coupe unveiled with hybrid powertrain
The standard CLE coupe streamlined the Mercedes-Benz lineup by replacing the now-discontinued C and E-Class coupes. With larger dimensions over the wheelbase of a C-class, the CLE 53 makes an ideal stepping stone from the C 43 AMG sedan.
There’s no mistaking the CLE 53 for a regular Mercedes, the matte black paint accented by slashes of red points squarely to the fact that this is a performance car. The nose is dominated by vertical slats on the grille and larger intakes under a muscular scooped bonnet.The rear features a lip spoiler on the trunk and a diffuser flanked by quad exhausts. The chunky tyres rest in wheel arches that are wider than on the standard CLE by 58mm (front) and 75mm (rear). The 370mm front and 360mm rear brake discs are easily spotted inside the 19-inch blacked out rims, with 20-inchers optional.
The centrepiece of the interior is the MBUX infotainment system. The cockpit makes little concessions for the passenger with an 11.9-inch vertically-oriented central display angled towards the driver, and a 12.3-inch digital display in place of the instrument binnacle. The seats are upholstered in synthetic leather (inflation much?) and microfibre as standard, with additional options including Nappa leather available on request. Red stitching, seatbelts, and carbon trim set the AMG apart and remind the passenger to hold on to something before setting off. An optional AMG Performance seat with better lateral support is available.
Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre inline-6 petrol engine bolstered by twin-turbocharging. Peak power of 443bhp is produced at 6100rpm and 560Nm of peak torque comes in at 5800rpm. Further assistance is provided by a mild hybrid system featuring an integrated starter generator (ISG). The ISG fills in the power gaps and steps in where using the engine alone would be inefficient, like stop-and-go city traffic. On the performance front, it provides temporary boosts of up to 22bhp and 205Nm. Putting the power down is a 9-speed torque converter transmission feeding a rear-biased 4WD system that will take you to 100kmph in 4.2sec, all the way to an electronically-limited top speed of 250kmph.
From comfort to sport, five customisable driving modes alter vehicle characteristics to suit the driver’s wishes. A full manual mode is available at the touch of a button for those who don’t mind a little tinkering. The speed-sensitive steering wheel regulates feedback and resistance depending on driving conditions, weighing up at high speed and loosening up in low-speed manoeuvres. The 2.5-degree rear-wheel steering minimises the car’s footprint by reducing turning circle and steering effort.
The AMG Dynamic Plus package adds visual and technical features for when a regular CLE 53 just isn’t sporty enough. It includes the AMG 'wheel, which allows for quick operation of the driving programmes without looking away from the road. The 4-piston brake callipers get a red paint job and AMG badging to emphasise the fact that the CLE 53 will stop as well as it goes. If you’re not too concerned with traction, the Dynamic Plus package offers a drift mode that cuts power to the front wheels and sends it to the rear, allowing the tail to step out.
The Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Coupe doesn’t have an official launch date yet, but keep your eyes peeled for updates.