The marriage between the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé and E-Class Coupé results in the new CLE Coupé that aligns the luxury levels of the ‘E’ with the more compact and sportier dimensions of the ‘C’ to produce a new generation of touring car for the three-pointed star.

Now, officially launched locally, buyers will have an initial choice of two power options: the CLE 200 and the more performance-focused CLE 300, which comes standard with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. In addition to a turbo-charger, both models feature a second-generation integrated starter generator (ISG) that provides support at low speeds and ensures excellent power delivery.

Mercedes-Benz CLE from the rear

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The ISG incorporates a 48-volt electrical system, enabling features such as coasting, boost, and recuperation, which significantly lower fuel consumption. The engines start swiftly and smoothly, rendering the start-stop function almost imperceptible and ensuring a seamless transition from coasting with the engine off to robust propulsion.

The new battery enhances the electric motor's power from 15 kW to 17 kW, delivering a boost torque of 205 Nm and the 9G-TRONIC transmission has been further refined to accommodate the ISG and is now utilised in all CLE models.

The electric motor, power electronics, and transmission cooler have been integrated into or onto the transmission, eliminating the need for previous lines and providing both space and weight advantages. The transmission's efficiency has also been improved.

Mercedes-Benz CLE side view

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The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system has been further enhanced. The front-axle drive allows for higher torque transmission and optimal axle load distribution, improving driving dynamics. Additionally, it offers a significant weight advantage over the previous series' components, contributing to a dynamic driving experience with enhanced grip.

Visually, the shark nose front with a low-slung bonnet, sleek LED headlights, and the newly designed, three-dimensional radiator grille, along with contoured power domes on the long bonnet, give it an immediate ‘must-have’ look.

From the side, a distinctive character line runs from the headlights to the exterior mirrors and from the rear lights to the door handles, creating an archer’s bow effect.

The cockpit features a free-standing 12.3-inch digital instrument display and an 11.9-inch central display tilted six degrees towards the driver’s seat.

Mercedes-Benz CLE cockpit view

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The front seats, specifically developed for the coupé, feature a sports design with integrated headrests. When paired with the optional Burmester 3D surround sound system, each headrest includes two speakers for a more immersive audio experience.

“The CLE ushers in a new era of driving dynamics for Mercedes-Benz customers in the dream car range. The CLE is an emotive piece of art designed to inspire the senses, perfectly bridging the gap between the outgoing C-Class and E-Class coupé. It offers the best of both in a dynamic package featuring the latest digital advancements,” says Mark Raine, co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

Colin Windell