NewsI was driving the new Mercedes CLE Coupe. The head of designers kept repeating one word

I was driving the new Mercedes CLE Coupe. The head of designers kept repeating one word

Mercedes CLE Coupe. The first drives were organized in the north of Spain.
Mercedes CLE Coupe. The first drives were organized in the north of Spain.
Images source: © money.pl | Marcin Walków
12:41 PM EDT, October 1, 2023, updated: 9:05 AM EDT, October 5, 2023

"Iconic" - this is the word most often used by Gorden Wagener, the chief designer of Mercedes, during the first rides of the new CLE Coupe model. This is a car that is meant to provide driving pleasure, while not limiting its functionality to just two seats in the front row.

In the Mercedes lineup, the new model CLE combines features of the C-Class and E-Class in a Coupe variant. It does not concede in size to the larger E-Class Coupe. The bodywork is 485 cm long, 186 cm wide and 143 cm high. That's 2 cm longer than the E-Class Coupe. The line of the bodywork is elegant and is immediately associated with the brand from Stuttgart.

The classic Coupe silhouette in the CLE model should not cause controversy.
The classic Coupe silhouette in the CLE model should not cause controversy.© money.pl | Marcin Walków

That's why Gorden Wagner emphasized the iconicity of the body and its timelessness in conversations with journalists. That's why there's no excess of sharp cuts, futuristic elements here. It's quite classic and dignified, which by no means implies "boring". The new model in Mercedes' range is not a revolution, but rather a successful compilation.

Mercedes CLE Coupe interior

The interior of the car is driver-oriented. That's because it was designed with him in mind. The cockpit, almost directly taken from the C-Class, along with the tilted middle screen (11.9 inches), is inspired by the one from the highest S-Class. But those riding in the front passenger seat, and in the back, cannot complain about comfort. Because there will be plenty of space for two adults and they most likely won't have to keep their knees under their chins. However, remember that the roofline is distinctly sloping. Four "cabins" will fit in the trunk.

After all, the Mercedes CLE doesn't have to be "sporty" at first glance. The two-door Coupe is a car that is meant to provide driving pleasure, especially from behind the wheel. And it does, as I found out during my first tests in San Sebastian, Spain.

The interior of the Mercedes CLE 450 4Matic was adapted from the C-Class.
The interior of the Mercedes CLE 450 4Matic was adapted from the C-Class.© press materials | Mercedes-Benz AG; Communications & Marketing; photo by Dieter Rebmann on behalf of Mercedes-Benz AG
In the back instead of a sofa we have two armchairs. There's plenty of leg room, but tall people might complain about the overhead space.
In the back instead of a sofa we have two armchairs. There's plenty of leg room, but tall people might complain about the overhead space.© press materials | Mercedes-Benz AG; Communications & Marketing; photo by Dieter Rebmann on behalf of Mercedes-Benz AG

Mercedes CLE Coupe on the road

How does the CLE Coupe drive? Very nicely. And even though I was testing the top-of-the-line 450 CLE 4Matic engine variant in San Sebastian, it didn't encourage heavy pressing of the accelerator pedal. Despite having 381 HP of power and 500 Nm of torque under my foot, and a promise of 4.4 seconds from zero to "sixty". When I wanted to overtake dynamically on the highway, the "four fifty" immediately read and understood my intentions.

I had the opportunity to drive also the 300 CLE 4Matic variant with a 258-horsepower engine and the same 9G-Tronic automatic transmission. There were three of us from Poland and we had a similar impression: in the case of this weaker (although still not the weakest) version, the response to pressing the gas pedal was sluggish. Even in Sport mode.

"Iconic" and "contemporary" - that's how, according to Gorden Wagner, the Mercedes CLE Coupe is supposed to be.
"Iconic" and "contemporary" - that's how, according to Gorden Wagner, the Mercedes CLE Coupe is supposed to be.© money.pl | Marcin Walków
Obraz
© money.pl | Marcin Walków
Six-cylinder engine in the CLE 450 4Matic variant
Six-cylinder engine in the CLE 450 4Matic variant© press materials | Mercedes-Benz AG

However, the question is, how many buyers will expect a sporty "edge" from such a Coupe? I simply enjoyed the pleasure of driving forward.

The suspension is comfort-oriented. The steering isn't sluggish and knows what it's supposed to do, even in tighter turns. The relaxing atmosphere is created by the well-known ambient lighting and Burmester sound system. Visibility is good, further enhanced by an army of assistants, and even a steerable rear axle, which makes even narrow streets with curbs for cars with quite a long and wide hood, and shiny rims, not a challenge.

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