2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE to Supplant C and E-Class Coupes
Mercedes-Benz has officially announced its replacement for the discontinued E and C-Class coupes. The 2024 CLE will serve as the successor to both models by adopting what the manufacturer assumes its customers like about both and trying to bridge the gap between them.
With the popularity of coupes dwindling, it presumably makes sense for Mercedes to consolidate its two-door products. But it would be unwise to totally shut the door on a vehicle segment that has historically been important to the brand. Some of the most beloved Mercedes models have been coupes. Though the most iconic also have a tendency to include the letters SL in their name.
Still, it remains a good idea to have something downmarket and we’ve certainly seen automakers paint themselves into a corner by ending production on entire vehicle segments. So we’re getting the 2024 CLE as a lower-volume alternative to the existing C and E-Class coupes.
The exterior is a little more E-Class and CLS while the interior borders on being indistinguishable from the C-Class cabin. However, Mercedes has said the front seats were designed specifically for the CLE and come heated and with four-way lumbar support as standard. As this is Mercedes, you can also upgrade them to offer a massage.
Despite the cabin resembling the current C-Class, Mercedes-Benz has implemented the latest version of its MBUX infotainment system. This opens up the door to a bunch of third-party apps you don’t need and an entertainment suite you might actually want. You can even stream video from inside the vehicle, assuming the idea of being recorded from inside the car isn’t too creepy.
Though it’s the customization that really makes the inside of the CLE interesting. Mercedes now allows drivers to save individual profiles that can be shared between connected vehicles. This keeps track of your desired vehicle settings and has now been integrated with an “artificial intelligence” system that attempts to learn each driver’s preferences. These can be things like calendar reminders, audio settings, or something as nuanced as tweaking the HVAC system.
There are also built-in ways to create templates that bundle settings. For example, drivers could create a windows-down template for warmer days and a wintertime variant for when it’s cold outside. Mercedes even suggested a "Date Night" preset that automatically plays romantic music and makes the interior lighting a deep shade of red — presumably so you can have sex inside the vehicle.
It’s a little gimmicky. I think I’ve changed the ambient lighting on my car a grand total of three times. But it’s nice to have the option to customize the interior beyond what you’ve optioned from the factory and bundle those choices into thematic settings.
Other tech inclusions are about what you’d expect. The CLE comes with remote start and a proximity feature for the key. There’s also an updated voice assistant that can be programmed to always listen to your commands without being prompted via button press or your shouting “Hey Mercedes.” But you have to be the only one in the car for it to work and you’ll probably hate it if you’re the type that’s worried about privacy.
Safety and advanced driving aids are more-or-less on par for a luxury manufacturer. Though some of the add-ons are surprising not to see as standard hardware. The car comes with lane-keeping assist, active brake assist, speed limit assist, attention keeping, and traffic sign recognition as standard — meaning you have to pay extra for things like blind-spot monitoring, emergency stop assist, adaptive cruise control, and lane changing or steering assistance. Your author would have liked to have seen speed limit assist thrown into the trash and supplanted with the optional blind-spot monitoring. But the Driver Assistance Package is pretty robust and Mercedes obviously wants customers to buy it.
Dimensionally, the CLE is going to be slightly longer than the E-Class coupe. Tip to tail, the model is 191 inches. This results in a coupe boasting more interior space than the C-Class by just about every appreciable metric. But rear-seat space is down against the E-Class, with only shoulder and elbow room improving. Still, the difference should be negligible in most regards, with the biggest loss being an inch of legroom and a smidgen of trunk space.
As for powertrains, the CLE300 carries over the turbocharged 2.0-liter M254 that’s already equipped to base versions of the C and E-Class. The motor produces horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. However, the turbocharged 3.0-liter M256 will be available on the CLE450, with the straight-six delivering 375 horsepower and 369 pound-feet.
All-wheel drive is now standard across the board and both powertrains come with a 48-volt starter-generator with an electric motor that adds 23 hp and 148 pound-feet of torque low in the rev range. This helps to reduce turbo lag and improve acceleration while likewise helping to avoid any unpleasant surges when the start/stop system is active. The unit has been integrated with the obligatory nine-speed automatic transmission, which comes with a dedicated cooler.
We don’t know how that shakes out in terms of acceleration but it looks like the manufacturer has limited all versions of the coupe to 130 mph. That should likewise be true for the convertible/cabriolet version once it arrives.
Independent multi-link suspension can be found at all corners of the vehicle with the CLE450 coming with a more sporty, stiffened setup. While it’s likewise available on the CLE300, customers will have to opt into the AMG package to get it. The AMG Line also comes with unique 19-inch wheels and MB-TEX upholstery (recycled faux leather). But Mercedes will happily let you customize the vehicle as much as possible and offer a slew of interior options designed to cater to an array of tastes. Ditto for the wheels.
That level of customization can really pad the sticker. However, we don’t yet know where Mercedes-Benz plans on pricing the base CLE300. Logic would dictate somewhere between the C and E-Class coupes, placing the model around $60,000. But the company could try to edge it closer to the E-Class, resulting in a higher starting MSRP.
Expect more details to be released closer to the official launch of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE.
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