New Mercedes CLE first ride
Where there were four models, there are now two. That’s the upshot of Mercedes-Benz’s decision to replace the C- and E-Class coupé and cabriolet with the CLE coupé and cabriolet.
An initial ride in a low-mileage validation prototype on ultra-smooth roads around Mercedes-Benz’s factory in Sindelfingen, Germany, reveals the new two-door does not stray too far from the two models it succeeds in its overall on-road character.
There are a lot of C-Class saloon and estate styling cues inside. But a lower-set front seating position provides the CLE coupé with a more sporting feel from the passenger seat. Perceived quality is improved over the old C- and E-Class coupé and cabriolet, as is the operation of the infotainment system, which works with the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz MBUX operating system, bringing faster reaction times and greater resolution from new-generation displays.
In initial top-of-the-line six-cylinder petrol guise, the CLE coupé offers smooth and effortless performance. Mechanical refinement is excellent, as is the ability of the prototype to isolate wind noise at typical motorway cruising speeds.
The new Mercedes-Benz model’s head of testing, Christof Kühner, says a lot of effort has gone into giving the CLE coupé typically relaxed and subdued long-distance cruising qualities. It shows.