2025 Mercedes-AMG CLE53 Cabriolet Maintains Brand’s Commitment to Convertibles

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Mercedes is launching a convertible version of the Mercedes-AMG CLE53, showcasing the manufacturer’s commitment to convertible models.

If you’re hoping to purchase a drop-top vehicle from a manufacturer that doesn’t specialize in six-figure automobiles, this probably isn’t the best period in history to be shopping. However, you do have a few options via off-road focused SUVs and some mainstream sports cars. Still, the only companies that seem to have retained any real focus on convertibles are the European luxury brands — with Mercedes-Benz and BMW arguably leading on that front.

The good news is that the Mercedes-AMG CLE53 Cabriolet should come in somewhere between a Mazda MX-5 and Aston Martin DB11 Volante. Sadly, that is still likely to place the model north of $80,000 in an era where people seem fed up with high prices. But customers are getting more than a retractable top and Mercedes believes a majority of buyers will actually opt for the convertible when selecting the CLE53. We can effectively think of the model as a junior version of the Mercedes-AMG SL55.

Mechanically identical to the non-convertible version, the CLE53 is a mild hybrid. Its 3.0-liter straight six is turbocharged and “electronically supercharged” via an integrated starter-generator situated between the engine and transmission. This results in a maximum output of 443 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. However, you can get a little more from the vehicle for 10-second stints thanks to an over-boost feature.

AMG’s Speedshift nine-speed transmission and 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system are both standard on the CLE53, as is rear-wheel steering designed to help when making turns under highway speeds. That same system is likewise said to improve stability at higher speeds.

Mercedes estimated a 0–60-mph acceleration time of 4.3 seconds for the CLE53 Cabriolet, or 4.1 seconds for those that ordered the optional AMG Dynamic Plus package that incorporates launch control and a Drift mode. In both cases, the standard coupe will be faster by a few tenths of a second and undoubtedly offer sharper handling. But the cabrio AMG doesn’t appear to be too far behind on paper and there are certain benefits to owning a softer-riding vehicle.

Despite the CLE53 Cabriolet being a performance model, AMG fitted it with more suspension damping than the coupe. The theory here was that, since the hardtop was always going to be the more hardcore sporting model, there was no good reason to have the convertible try and chase it when they could make it a more comfortable cruiser.

While sporting upgrades are obviously what makes the AMG version hotter than the standard CLE, owners also receive unique front and rear bumpers, a revised hood, widened fenders, a lip spoiler on the back, and plenty of purely aesthetic embellishments to make the car appear more AMG — including its own exhaust system, flat-bottom steering wheel, and carbon fiber accenting wherever the manufacturer thought it might work.

Additionally, the AMG Cabriolet comes with optional features that are supposed to make it a better convertible. For example, Mercedes is selling a special leather interior that boasts an infrared-reflecting coating that’s alleged to reflect enough heat (even in direct sunlight) to prevent occupants from burning the backs of their legs. The Airscarf system (which routes the HVAC system through the seats) can likewise help cool or warm the seats even when the top is open.

The canvas used in the top is also said to incorporate additional sound deadening to ensure the vehicle remains quiet on demand. However, when one wants to transition to an open-air cockpit, Mercedes said the CLE can drop (or raise) the top in under 20 seconds at speeds below 37 mph.

The Mercedes-AMG CLE53 Cabriolet is supposed to land inside the United States in the second half of 2024. Pricing has yet to be announced. But, based on the rest of Mercedes’ lineup, somewhere in the neighborhood of $85,000 sounds like the probable starting MSRP with an option list that could make some versions retail for over $100,000.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on May 06, 2024

    Curb weight of this version is likely north of 4500 pounds. Expect it to feel like a W221 S-Class, not a sporty coupe.

  • Redapple2 Redapple2 on May 06, 2024

    Super looking. 4000lbs and $75,000 out the door and i d be tempted.

  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."