2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE-Class First Drive Review: Transcontinental Cruiser

Mercedes-Benz is most likely best known for its high-end sedans as well as the famous G-Class SUV, however Mercedes-Benz also insists on having a 4-seat coupe available in its lineup. As the year 2021 was just around the corner you could purchase all of the models from the automaker with a two-door version pillarless hardtop Sand the E-Class along with the smaller C-Class.

However, it appears that the C-Class coupe has been discontinued along with the other two ones will soon be replaced by an unifying product that is supposed to be unified that will be called it’s the 2024 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The company claims that the CL was the result of customer opinions: C-Class coupe owners requested more room for passengers and cargo and E-Class owners desired a more athletic driving experience.

The extent to which it achieves Mercedes the company’s goals is debatable according to the specifications. The new coupe is has a larger exterior, yet a smaller inside than the old E. The large dimensions could result in an unresponsive experience compared to the previous C-Class, particularly when driving on narrow roads. However, the proof of the pudding lies in the tasting and the proof for the CLE can be seen in driving.

Quick Stats2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE450
EngineTurbocharged 3.0-Liter I6
Output375 Horsepower / 369 Pound-Feet
TransmissionNine-Speed Automatic
0-60 Miles Per Hour4.3 Seconds (est.)
Top Speed130 Miles Per Hour
On-Sale DateEarly 2024

Basque Beauty

Mercedes-Benz is most likely best known for its high-end sedans as well as the famous G-Class SUV. However, Mercedes-Benz also insists on having a 4-seat coupe in its lineup. As 2021 was just around the corner, you could purchase all of the models from the automaker with a two-door version of pillarless hardtop Sand, the E-Class and the smaller C-Class.

However, the C-Class coupe and the other two have been discontinued and will soon be replaced by a unifying product that is supposed to be unified and called the 2024 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The company claims that the CL resulted from customer opinions: C-Class coupe owners requested more room for passengers and cargo, and E-Class owners desired a more athletic driving experience.

The extent to which it achieves Mercedes the company’s goals is debatable according to the specifications. The new coupe has a larger exterior but smaller inside than the old E. The large dimensions could result in an unresponsive experience compared to the previous C-Class, particularly when driving on narrow roads. However, the proof of the pudding lies in the tasting, and the proof of the CLE can be seen in driving.

The new CLE boasts a dazzling 11.9-inch infotainment screen from the center console, partnering with a crisp 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. But the real showstopper is the debut of Mercedes’ latest MBUX system, built on the brand new MB.OS platform. This opens the door to a new world of in-car experiences, with familiar apps like Zoom, Angry Birds, Sudoku, and even TikTok available through the car’s app store. I took the wheel and tackled a quick Sudoku puzzle while parked. While I’m not convinced video games and social media will have staying power in the car, it’s certainly a fascinating novelty for tech-savvy drivers.

Comfort-Plus Travel

Stepping into the CLE’s driver’s seat, I’m greeted by a surprisingly spacious cabin. True to Mercedes form, the front seats are supportive and hug you perfectly, with ample room for my 6-foot frame and 32-inch inseam. Compared to the previous E-Class coupe, the CLE boasts more front legroom and shoulder room, though headroom takes a slight hit in both rows. However, its “tweener” positioning shines in rear passenger comfort, offering 2.2 inches more legroom and 0.4 inches more headroom than the C-Class coupe.

Unlike the C-Class sedan’s all-four-cylinder lineup, the CLE300 starts with a punchier turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. But the upmarket CLE450’s 3.0-liter inline-six truly steals the show. This paragon of smoothness delivers effortless torque, and its standard all-wheel-drive ensures confident handling. My favorite, the flagship CLE450, blew me away again with its potent 375 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The EQ Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid system eliminates turbo lag, smooths out gear changes, and even recovers energy during braking.

Pressing the pedal to the narrowest as I pulled out of Donostia’s heavy urban traffic was a smooth event thanks to the inline six’s incredible torque delivery, allowing me to get into the gaps without frightening my co-driver too much. Mercedes claims that the CLE450 can achieve 62 miles an hour (100 kilometres per hour) in 4.4 seconds, a speedy number that is completely realistic. As you reach the speed, you’ll see an enjoyable sound resembling a turbine from the exhaust. This is typical of an inline-six and perfect in the Benz coupe’s sporty, modern-day task.

While driving down Spain’s meticulously maintained freeways, there’s not much to complain about in the CLE. The road and wind noise is easily controlled, and the two-door eliminates expansion joints and minor flaws with a firm, Autobahn-ready thump. The apocalyptic rough road makes rough noises through the rear suspension. Those living within the Snow Belt may want to look at the base CLE because of its smaller wheel, heftier tyre sidewalls, and softer suspension tune.

In terms of tuning, the car I tested was a European-spec vehicle with adaptive dampers that aren’t available in the US. Mercedes engineers informed me that the Comfort drive mode should roughly align with the performance of the springs and shocks standard on the market, and the Sport will be similar to the AMG suspensions included on the CLE450, which is US-spec and an option for the 300. The ability to switch between the two modes revealed that I’d prefer the latter option because it offers an acceptable ride quality even on Spanish cobblestones and maintains some sturdiness on a twisty road.

Pleasure Cruise

To prove they were talented, I took my CLE450 far from the main road and onto narrow coastal roads. Soaring up and down on rock faces and sheer cliffs, The CLE was required to thread a narrow needle to avoid a disaster. Fortunately, we did not suffer more than the rest, with the sport mode bringing life to the throttle and delivering raucous downshifts while braking to turn. The suspension has been tuned for these excursions, delivering an even and smooth handling that slowly shifts to secure understeer. Not even mid-corner downshifts can upset the CLE’s attitude.

As fast and powerful as the CLE450 is on roads like these, the CLE300 is more fun to drive. Mercedes hasn’t announced curb weights on either model, but it’s probable that the four-cylinder model will weigh less than the 6-cylinder (especially in the front). This means more balanced handling and better body control in quick turn-ins, which makes the CLE300 feel a bit restless and fun.

If the CLE coupe isn’t able to meet its short in any way, the steering is completely disengaged with the roads. It has an excessive amount of power assist and insufficient control to know exactly what tyres are capable of; before, only those with mechanical telepathy could enjoy the steering wheel. It’s a credit to the CLE’s turn-in, which is crisp and precise, making it easy to change the car’s current direction. However, being one of the principal interfaces between the road and the driver leaves much to be desired.

Good-Looking Goldilocks

Although I could regret the demise of the non-pillarless E450 car, it’s impossible to ignore the attraction of the CLE, particularly in the high-torque 450 trim. The styling is more expressive than the traditional E-Class, and its interior space promises great things for those looking to move with their C300s or C43s. Its driving performance is what you would expect from an AMG-free Mercedes that is a balanced mix of handling and comfort proficiency. The technology suite is standard Benz and has a sensible layout and interesting accessories. The pricing could fall between the older Coupes and the E-Class, beginning at $55,000 for the CLE300 and $61,000 for the CL450.

Furthermore, the 2024 CLE300 and CLE450 coupes are just the tip of the iceberg. Mercedes-Benz has already unveiled the CL cabriolet, and it’s almost certain that more powerful versions of the two body styles will be available shortly. Let’s hope an inline-six with high output will enter the Mercedes-AMG CLE63. Even while the V8 rumour has been disproved in the case of C-Class’s AMG model, the standard model SL55 will likely offer the twin-turbo 4.0-litre for the CLE.

I’ll affirm this: the CLE is certainly sportier than the 2-door E-Class that it is replacing and larger than the C-Class coupe. When the AMG versions are released, with more powerful control and (hopefully) better steering, I’d give 2024’s Mercedes-Benz C-Class the fullest praise.

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