Britannia Banner

Mercedes-Benz Cle CLE 300 4Matic Premier Edition 2dr 9G-Tronic

  • Automatic
  • Petrol
  • 38.2 mpg
  • 2 door convertible
  • 167 g/km CO2
  • 167 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 38.2 mpg Fuel efficiency
  • 6.6 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 258 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

This Mercedes' CLE Cabriolet targets open-topped versions of BMW's 4 Series and Audi's A5 more effectively than the Three-Pointed Star has ever managed before. Elegant styling makes it stand out in the showroom, plus you get some sophisticated convertible touches that'll really make you feel special. Will it all be enough to enable this Cabriolet CLE to gain the upper hand in this tightly contested and style-conscious segment?

Background

Can one convertible model properly target both the mid-sized and luxury executive market segments? Mercedes certainly thought so back in 1999 when it launched the CLK Cabriolet, which was produced in two generations and sold until 2009. It was replaced by a slightly larger E-Class Cabriolet model in 2010, eventually joined by a slightly smaller C-Class Cabriolet in 2016 and those two models sold in tandem for the next eight years. Fast forward to 2024 though and Mercedes has decided once again that a single convertible design can cover both the mid-sized and luxury executive segments. Which is what has brought us this car, the CLE Cabriolet. Mercedes says that it decided to rationalise two models into one going forward based on research that saw C-Class Cabriolet customers wanting a larger, more prestigious car and E-Class Cabriolet owners wanting something more sporting. Meeting those needs but continuing on the path of having a pair of mid-level convertible contenders would, the brand says, have created two cars very similar to each other. The certainly some truth in that, but the real reason for the product rationalisation here is that Mercedes needs to slim down its sprawling combustion range to make room for more EQ electric models. As its name suggests, this CLE Cabriolet shares almost everything except its roof with the CLE Coupe.

Driving Experience

Expect the CLE Cabriolet driving experience to be a little sportier than previous mid-sized Mercedes convertibles. The stiff MRA platform borrowed from more conventional C and E-Class models helps here. As does track width increased by 40mm at the front and 70mm at the rear. And a ride height dropped by 15mm over a C-Class saloon, which lowers the centre of gravity. Those who also pay extra for the optional adaptive damping and rear wheel steering systems should get sportiness approaching that of a rival BMW 4 Series Convertible. You'll want to know about engines. As with this model's predecessors, the core part of the range is made up of 2.0-litre petrol and diesel turbo units, though in this CLE they gain EQ Power 48V mild hybrid assistance. The 197hp CLE 220d diesel and the 204hp CLE 200 petrol both take around 8s to reach 62mph, the latter model's engine tuned up to 258hp in the C300 4MATIC petrol, which gains AWD and improves the sprint figure to 6.6s. Top of the mainstream range is the CLE 450 4MATIC, which uses a straight six 3.0-litre petrol powerplant with 381hp, which makes 62mph in 4.4s. If that's not fast enough, then you can also talk to your dealer about the Mercedes-AMG 53 4MATIC+ version, which uprates the CLE 450 model's straight six to 449hp. Beyond that is a top Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 4MATIC+ model with a twin turbo 4.0-litre V8 generating 585hp. Aside from that '63', all the engines drive via 9-speed torque converter auto transmission with paddle shifters.

Design and Build

The CLE Cabriolet carries forward the sporty design elements of its Coupe counterpart, like the expressive power domes on the bonnet and the powerful low-set front end, but mates it with a stylish fabric acoustic soft top. At 4,850mm in length, the car is longer than the C-Class and E-Class Cabriolet models it replaces and, perhaps more significantly, longer than a rival BMW 4 Series Convertible equivalent too. From a glance at the design stats, you might think this CLE has more in common with a C than an E. Its 2,865mm-long wheelbase, for instance, is identical to that of a C-Class saloon. But much is different too, this CLE not only measuring 99mm longer but sitting 10mm lower. And of course the look is very different - namely the sloping boot lid and the prominent grille flanked by 'shark nose' LED headlights. The wheel sizes are between 18 and 20-inches depending on spec. Inside, the soft top is operated by three buttons on the centre console, with the two outer ones responsible for lowering or raising the roof. You can do that in around 20 seconds - and also operate the top from the key if you wish. As usual on Mercedes cabrio models, the front seats have 'AIRSCARF' upper vents to warm you neck on colder days. Otherwise of course, it's just as with a CLE Coupe. As with the current C and E-Class cabins, there's a 12.3-inch central touchscreen and an 11.9-inch driver's display viewed through a 3-spoke wheel. The seats are bespoke with integrated headrests and are lower-set than a C or E-Class saloon, giving a sportier feel. The centre screen runs the latest version of the brand's MBUX media system. As for rear seat space, well it's not as good as the old E-Class Cabriolet (because of 8mm less wheelbase length) but it's better than the cramped quarters of the old C-Class Cabriolet, with 72mm more knee room. As you'd expect, there's a smaller boot than you get in the CLE Coupe; with the roof up, it's 385-litres in size. When the roof's in place, pressing a boot lid button retracts the roof carrier compartment into the top of the boot area, freeing up the maximum amount of space. Roof-down, boot capacity falls to 295-litres.

Market and Model

Expect pricing for this Cabriolet model around the £53,000 mark. The '200' and '220d' models can be had with a base 'AMG Line' spec; otherwise across the range, you'll be choosing between 'AMG Line Premium', 'AMG Line Premium Plus' and 'Premier Edition'. Obvious rivals are convertible versions of BMW's 4 Series and Audi's A5. Smart 18-inch alloy wheels are standard, even with base 'AMG Line'-spec, and if you care about extra efficiency and want a bit of extra ride compliance, you keep those smaller rims on all mainstream variants bar the CLE 450. Across the range, standard equipment includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 'keyless go' keyless entry, powered seats with memory settings and a customisable ambient lighting set-up. What you won't be able to specify is the extended 'Superscreen' infotainment system fitted to the latest E-Class saloon; Mercedes reckons that isn't driver-focused enough for the CLE. What you do get is a more advanced version of the brand's MBUX media system, operable via an an 11.9-inch portrait infotainment screen. This adds the brand's latest 'Routines' function, which learns the habits of the driver and can do things like automatically change the ambient lighting, automatically turn on the climate control and set reminders for things like telephone calls on birthdays based on previous interactions. With this latest version of MBUX, you no longer need to say "Hey Mercedes" to activate it: instead, when you're alone in the car, you can operate the voice control when a red microphone symbol appears on the driver's display. Over-the-air updates will be made available to owners throughout the car's lifespan and the centre screen features new apps like TikTok, the Vivaldi web browser and even an Angry Birds game. Standard safety features include active brake assist, lane keeping assist, speed limit warning, attention assist and a reversing camera. You can specify an extra-cost 'Advanced Plus' package that adds blind spot assist and traffic sign recognition.

Cost of Ownership

Expect a combined cycle mpg figure of 42.2mpg and up to 153g/km of CO2 for the base CLE 200 variant. Go for the CLE 220d diesel and you're looking at up to 57.7mpg on the combined cycle and up to 129g/km. The mild hybrid 'EQ Boost' system fitted to these engines works as mild hybrid set-ups usually do, using a belt-driven starter/generator running off a 48-volt electrical system. The electrical element is certainly seamlessly integrated, cutting in and shutting down the engine completely at cruising speeds, which will often see you burning absolutely no fuel at all. Plus the 'EQ Boost' technology allows for a greater level of kinetic energy regeneration, something you can monitor as you drive via an EQ Boost 'Power'/'Charge' meter in the instrument cluster. With the more powerful models, you're looking at up to 38.2mpg and 167g/km for the CLE 300 4MATIC; and up to 35.3mpg and up to 180g/km for the CLE 450 4MATIC. Service intervals for this CLE will depend on how far you drive and under what conditions - but Mercedes does offer 'ServiceCare', which allows you to spread your bills into manageable payments, guarantees the price of parts and labour for up to four services, and covers the cost of recommended service items such as brake fluid, spark plugs, air filters, fuel filters and screen wash. Another thing we'll need to tell you is that the comprehensive three year unlimited mileage warranty is built upon by Mercedes' Mobilo scheme which delivers breakdown cover for up to thirty years, as long as you continue to have your car serviced at a Mercedes main dealer.

Summary

Mercedes has long offered executive buyers a cabriolet model. But never one as directly targeted at key competitors as this car. In terms of price, performance and sheer pavement panache, it's a match for leading class contenders like Audi's A5 Cabriolet and BMW's 4 Series Convertible in all the ways that really matter. If, having considered these alternatives, you opt for a CLE Cabriolet, it'll probably be because it offers an extra touch of class and exclusivity that these rivals can't quite match. That's important. After all, you buy a car like this because of the way it makes you feel and we can see how pulling back the curtains each morning and admiring one of these in your driveway would appeal. Which is just as well given the substantial amount you're likely to have to pay for one. Is it worth it? Well you'll have to be sold on the looks and the cabin screen-fest, but if you are, this CLE represents a very aspirational choice in this segment. It's probably the last in a line of combustion-powered Mercedes cabriolets dating back nearly a century. So it's just as well that it's a bit special. Just as a desirable cabriolet should be.

  • Car wash mode
  • Fluorescent jacket for driver
  • Passive person presence reminder
  • Burmester 3D surround sound system with sound personalisation
  • Digital radio
  • MBUX extended functions
  • MBUX multimedia system
  • AMG bodystyling
  • AMG Line exterior
  • Rear boot
  • AMG line interior
  • Illuminated door sill panels with Mercedes Benz lettering
  • Instrument panel and beltlines in ARTICO manmade leather in nappa look
  • Multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather
  • Nappa leather upholstery
  • Power height and reach adjustable steering column
  • Energizing plus package with air balance pack - CLE
  • Interior light pack - CLE
  • Memory seat pack - CLE
  • Mirror pack - CLE
  • Night package - CLE
  • Parking package with 360 degree camera - CLE
  • Stowage space package - CLE
  • USB package plus - CLE
  • Winter Pack - CLE
  • Centre airbag
  • Front and rear seatbelt reminder
  • Pedestrian protection
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Anti theft alarm system
  • Dashcam
  • Guard 360 degree vehicle protection plus
  • Increased anti-theft protection
  • Interior monitoring system
  • CO: 0.187
  • HC: 0.012
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Noise Level dB(A): 68
  • NOx: 0.019
  • Particles: 0
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 167
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1999
  • Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 83
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 92.4
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Gears: 9 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 7.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 11.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 7.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 38.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 40.9
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 25
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 37.7
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 2.0
  • Badge Power: 258
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: 4Matic
  • Coin Series: Premier Edition
  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 44E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 30
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Service Interval Mileage: 15500
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 6.6
  • Engine Power - BHP: 258
  • Engine Power - KW: 190
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5800
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 295
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 40.8
  • Engine Torque - NM: 400
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 2000
  • Top Speed: 155
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 245/35 R20
  • Tyre Size Rear: 275/30 R20
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: AMG MULTI SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 20" ALLOY
  • Height: 1424
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4870
  • Wheelbase: 2865
  • Width: 1861
  • Width (including mirrors): 2042
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 66
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2420
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): N
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 385
  • Max. Loading Weight: 435
  • Max. Roof Load: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1800
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1985
  • No. of Seats: 4
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.7