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New Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe – Beauty in Motion.

New Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe – Beauty in Motion.

The new Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe is essentially a replacement for both the C-Class Coupe and the larger E-Class Coupe, as the German premium brand realigns its coupe offerings to reflect consumer demand throughout Europe. Interestingly, the new CLE is actually marginally longer than the bigger of the two cars it replaces, and it is 82mm longer than its closest rival, the BMW 4 Series Coupe. It sits 15mm lower to the ground than its C-Class and E-Class saloon stablemates, and its 4-seat (2+2) cabin layout features newly-developed front sports seats, along with two individual rear seats which are accessed via an ‘easy-entry’ system triggered by leather straps on the front seats. Based on the same underpinnings as the latest C-Class and E-Class saloons and estates, the new CLE provides drivers with impressive cabin space, along with a more engaging driving experience than ever before.

Diesel Power.

Latest figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show that diesel-powered cars accounted for 23% of overall new car registrations for Q1 of 2024 (Jan-March inclusive), so it is clear to see that almost one-quarter of Irish motorists in the new car market still prefer their new car to be powered by a diesel engine.

Engine & Drivetrain Options.

The new CLE is available with four engine options, each of which is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission (9G-TRONIC), and feature mild hybrid electrical assistance to improve performance and enhance fuel efficiency in urban settings. The three petrol engine variants are badged CLE 200 (2.0-litre with 204bhp, rear-wheel drive), CLE 300 (2.0-litre with 258bhp, all-wheel drive) and CLE 450 (3.0-litre with 381bhp, all-wheel drive), and the sole diesel offering is badged CLE 220 D (2.0-litre with 197bhp, rear-wheel drive). The only trim offering in the new CLE Coupe is the generously-equipped AMG LINE PLUS specification, with a variety of optional packages and individual extras available for ultimate personalisation. 

Strikingly-Designed: Inside & Out.

The exterior of the new CLE Coupe adopts Mercedes-Benz’ latest design language and there is a sense of elongated elegance about its proportions. Despite its sleek profile, the car is actually surprisingly practical, as its 420-litre boot capacity is on par (if not better) than many family-sized hatchbacks. The classy cabin in the new CLE Coupe is derived from the latest C-Class, and it features a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and an upright 11.9-inch infotainment touchscreen located beneath the trio of striking centre air vents. The touchscreen interface is upgraded with revised MBUX software, and a voice control system that has been made easier to utilise on the move.

Test Car Details.

My test car was a new CLE 220 D Coupe AMG LINE PLUS which was finished in delightful Spectral Blue metallic paintwork with contrasting Leather Macchiato Beige / Black upholstery (optional at €3,077) and 19-inch AMG multi-spoke light alloy wheels. Other options fitted to my test car included a Night Package, MBUX Augmented Reality Navigation, a Premium Package and a Panoramic Sliding Sunroof. A vast amount of comfort, convenience, safety and infotainment features come as standard, as does Mercedes-Benz’ legendary build quality. The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine provides plenty of pace from the off and it bestows the driver with strong overtaking ability. With 197bhp and 440Nm of torque available, the car can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 7.5-seconds, on its way to a top speed of 238km/h (where permitted), while an official fuel consumption figure as low as 4.7l/100km (60.1mpg) on a WLTP combined driving cycle should mean that it is possible to achieve up to 1,400km between fuel station visits from the standard 66-litre fuel tank. The punchy performance doesn’t come at the expense of refinement either, as the car remains impressively hushed in normal day-to-day driving, and only becomes more vocal under harsh acceleration. Overall ride comfort is good, with road, tyre and wind noise nicely isolated from the cabin. The slick 9G-TRONIC transmission is as responsive to bursts of acceleration as it is to braking power, and it is a perfect match for the turbocharged diesel engine in the new CLE. Paddle shift levers behind the sporty steering wheel allow drivers to take control of gear shifts themselves, if they so wish, but it is more relaxing to just let the automatic transmission do the hard work. The steering is perfectly weighted and pleasingly accurate, so it is easy to place the car exactly where you want it to be on the road. The low-slung nature of the new CLE Coupe results in terrific torsional rigidity and that creates a well-planted feel on the road. Drive modes consist of Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual, with the latter allowing for personal customisation. Eco mode provides the car with the opportunity to seek out the most economical engine and mild-hybrid settings for enhanced fuel efficiency, with Comfort mode prioritising suppleness for a more luxurious ride comfort that all occupants can enjoy. Sport mode adds an ideal combination of steering weight and body control so that drivers can enjoy excellent high-speed composure and enhanced driving thrills.

Verdict & Price.

The new Mercedes-Benz CLE 220 D Coupe is a quiet and relaxing cruiser that offers punchy performance, excellent fuel efficiency and relative practicality, while its striking exterior design and plush cabin enhance its overall desirability. The new Mercedes-Benz CLE 220 D Coupe AMG LINE PLUS (as tested) is priced from €73,215 (excluding optional extras), with petrol-engine models priced from €74,670.

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