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A Week With: 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe – A 2-Door “Love Child”

by | June 26, 2024

Think of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe as two cars in one, blending the best of the prior-generation C-Class and E-Class models into one all-new offering. With its distinctively sporty design, a choice of two mild hybrid drivetrains, a lavishly appointed interior and plenty of new tech features, the German automaker is betting the blended offering will have a broader appeal than the two, older coupes.

Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe (European model shown)

With the 2024 CLE Coupe Mercedes-Benz blended elements of both the old C- and E-Class coupes.

The all-new Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe is a love child, the product of marrying the old C- and E-Class two-door models. Make that a marriage of convenience considering the sharp slump in demand for coupes – which have fallen even faster than sedans off U.S. sales charts as millions of buyers have migrated to SUVs and CUVs.

In years past, potential buyers might have lamented the loss of yet another entry into the once-vibrant market segment. But there’s a lot to like about the 2024 CLE Coupe, especially considering that, for a starting price of just over $56,000, it really does blend the best of both old models in terms of design, performance, comfort and features.

To get a feel for the new German offering I spent nearly a week behind the wheel of the sportier 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE 450 4Matic Coupe with the lavish Pinnacle trim package.

By the numbers

The new CLE Coupe is longer than the old E-Class Coupe – but slightly smaller inside.

The 2024 Mercedes CLE uses the “conceptual and technical innovations of the C-Class and E-Class” is how Mercedes puts it. That starts with an entirely new platform and design.

In reality, the new coupe’s footprint is, in most dimensions, larger than the two old 2-door models. At 191 inches it’s 6.5 inches longer then the C-Class Coupe and 0.6 inches longer than the old E-Class. It’s wider than both, and has a wheelbase just 0.3 inches shorter than the E-, and 1 inch longer than the C-, qt 112.8. Other dimensions, including height, and front and rear overhangs, are within fractions of the E-Class.

Another way to think about it: the 2024 CLE Coupe is now the largest vehicle in its segment though, surprisingly, it has slightly less interior space than the old E-Class 2-door. It does boast  a reasonably impressive 14.8 cubic feet of trunk space, about as good as you’ll get in its class – and enough, the automaker claims, for three golf bags. Better yet, the CLE is one of the few passenger cars with a trunk that can be opened hands-free, a feature normally reserved for SUVs.

Sportier design

Mercedes-Benz CLE-Class, San Sebastian 2023

The overall look is more aggressive than that of the two coupes the 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE replaces.

The overall look is elegant and sophisticated. The shark-nose grille gives it a bit of a menacing appearance, especially with the flaring “nostrils” of the CLE 450. The sense of power is underscored by a double-bubble hood. The roofline takes on a more traditionally raked coupe shape. And the frameless doors are a nice design element.

Two distinctive creases flowing from nose to tail help enhance the sense of width, as does the subtle bulge of the rocker panels. Add broad hips in the rear, along with twin chromed exhausts and a rear diffuser.

Inside, Mercedes designers largely adopted the look and shape of the latest C-Class sedan, including the two digital displays. There’s a 12.3-inch gauge cluster and a vertically oriented, 11.9-inch touchscreen for infotainment. The latter floats, more like a tablet, off the instrument panel and can tilt fore and aft, as needed to minimize glare.

2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe - IP

The CLE Coupe’s cabin features twin digital displays.

The upper half of the cabin is nicely detailed. Unfortunately, the lower portion uses a bit too much hard plastic. The other gripe is a personal one: as with most new Mercedes offerings, the CLE steers clear of traditional knobs and buttons, moving most controls onto the touchscreen. But you can handle most functions using either a touchpad on the center console, haptic controls on the steering wheel, or by simply saying, “Hey, Mercedes,” to activate the coupe’s MBUX voice assistant.

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Mercedes-Benz CLE-Class, San Sebastian 2023

I spent my time driving the CLE 450 4Matic AMG Line.

A full AMG package is reportedly in the works. For now, however, Mercedes offers two powertrain options:

  • The CLE 300 puts out 255 horsepower and a maximum 295 pound-feet of torque. It pairs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder package with a mild hybrid integrated starter-generator drawing power from a 48-volt electrical system. The ISG side of the package makes 23 hp and up to 151 lb-ft;
  • The more powerful option in the CLE 450 which upgrades to a 3.0-liter inline-six that also is paired with a mild-hybrid assist system. The combined output here is 375 hp and 369 lb-ft.

Both systems push power out through a 9-speed automatic to all four wheels.

The CLE 300 will hit 60 in a factory-estimated 6.2 seconds, the CLE 450 shaving off an even 2 seconds, at 4.2. Both models are electronically limited to a top speed of 130 mph.

Driving impressions

Mercedes-Benz CLE-Class, San Sebastian 2023

The 2024 Mercedes CLE Coupe will begin rolling into U.S. showrooms over the summer.

Let’s start with a gripe: At 6’2” in height, getting in and out of the new Mercedes CLE Coupe is a bit of a chore. Then again, I’ve come to expect that trade off for the sporty look and feel you get from most 2-door models. While not quite as lavishly equipped as the old E-Class Coupe, the cabin offers a refined and sophisticated feel. Everything is right where you expect.

I spent my week with the CLE 450 AMG Line and the Pinnacle package – meaning it was loaded up with just about everything you’d otherwise have to check a box for. Satisfyingly, that included sporty seats that proved comfortable while cruising, supportive when pushing the coupe to its limits, as I did exploring its potential on my favorite route through Hell, Michigan.

That blend of both worlds, I quickly discovered, extends to the car’s driving dynamics. In Comfort Mode it soaked up all but the harshest of bumps on my home state’s notoriously fractured roadways, though the downside was a slight but noticeable lag in bringing on power at a light. Switching to the Sport setting was like changing vehicles. Gone was the power lag – and the revised throttle mapping made the car far more responsive to even subtle inputs from my right foot.

The AMG Line’s suspension tuning also resulted in less body roll and more direct steering response. Translation: it was more than happy to be tossed around winding, often off-camber tarmac.


Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe (European model shown)

The new CLE Coupe makes elegant use of both exterior and interior lighting.

As you’d expect from a Mercedes, the 2024 CLE Coupe is loaded with plenty of technology, including the usual assortment of USB ports, a wireless charger and a standard, 17-speaker Burmester 3D Surround Sound System. There also are plenty of advanced driver assistance systems, including Attention Assist, Active Brake Assist and the updated auto-park package.

Going forward, with the demise of the 2-door versions of the S-, E- and C-Class, the CLE will be the only Coupe in the Mercedes family.

Pricing starts at $56,500 for the CLE 4Matic, jumping to $65,650 for the 450 4Matic. The Pinnacle package adds about $3,000. And all figure are before factoring in delivery fees.

Look for the 2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe to begin rolling into U.S. showrooms over the summer.


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