By Étienne ROVILLÉ
But the times are for rationalization, and the number of models is set to drastically decrease. Some station wagons will disappear, convertibles are becoming rarer, some coupe sedans are passing from life to death. It is in this context that the CLE coupe arrives, whose role is to take the place of both the C and E Class coupes. It is difficult not to be seduced at first glance by this large cut with slender lines and graceful curves. The German combines elegance and strength with finesse, with its long hood and short front overhang and its roofline falling gently between muscular shoulders.
Mercedes offers a sober style, judiciously avoiding unnecessary vulgar fittings that are too fashionable. At most, we could regret the excess of stars, which we find everywhere, on the grille and, now, on the black parts of the shields. The CLE officially replaces two very different models. However, when we look at the dimensions, with its 4.85 m long, it is respectively 1.5 and 16.4 cm longer than the E and C coupes. For the width, it is exactly the same as the outgoing E, with 1.86 m, or 5 cm more than the C. The new coupe offers interior space very close to that of the E-Class Coupé and therefore offers, for example, 7.2 cm extra at the knees. -vis the C Coupé. But don’t dream, an adult of average size will not be comfortably seated in the rear seats, due to the headroom being a little too tight, although the legs benefit from sufficient legroom.
6-cylinder 3.0 petrol
For its part, the trunk has 420 l, or 60 more than for the C Coupé and 5 less than for the E Coupé. Finally, without saying it, Mercedes simply changes the E-Class coupe and deletes the C-Class Coupe. Except, according to the marketing pitch, that’s not accurate. Customers of the second wanted more space and those of the first, a sportier car. It is on this point that Mercedes says it has found the in-between, as much as by the price (starting at €65,000), slightly lower – with equivalent finish and equipment – than those of the outgoing E. Our well-optioned top-of-the-line 450 4MATIC model will ask noticeably more.
The perforated white leather interior looks great while the front seats, adjustable in all directions, offer a welcome bordering on perfection. At most, we would have liked a slightly lower driving position. The driving position is intended to be more sporty and is therefore not taken directly from the new E-Class. No, here the 11.9” infotainment screen takes the form of a vertical tablet oriented towards the driver, which benefits from a 12.3” digital instrument cluster and a very attractive head-up display.
Let’s move on to the not very responsive capacitive buttons which adorn the steering wheel and finally start the 6-cylinder 3.0 petrol engine. Discreet, he rewards us with a slight, promising growl. Whether in town or on the road, the coupe takes care of its occupants with never-failing gentleness. The consistency of the steering wheel is firm without being hard, but lacks naturalness, the reactions of the 9-speed automatic gearbox are supple and the damping comfortable.
The first impression is far from any sportiness, but rather makes you want to drive for hours enjoying the excellent Burmester audio system. The few tens of kilometers traveled on the motorway largely reinforce this feeling, despite air noise surprisingly present – everything is relative – beyond 140 km/h, at the level of the sunroof.
For the sporty side, a few roads offering fast and slow curves were enough to convince us that this is not the real orientation of this coupe. The cushioning is a little too soft to perfectly contain body movements. However, by selecting Sport mode, things improve and the CLE is more alert in its changes of direction, as well as in the responsiveness of the gearbox and steering. But that’s not enough to make it sporty. Where it expresses itself wonderfully is during a series of large, gentle curves where its GT side flourishes. With 381 hp and 500 Nm, the large coupe delivers sharp acceleration and recovery. Don’t trust your feelings, however, as this power is so subdued. The tachometer does not lie, unlike our sensations which remain unsatisfied. The small electric motor, providing 23 hp and 205 Nm at times, useful for consumption, does not transform the whole.
The difference between Normal and Sport modes is quite marked, almost too much, and we would have liked the former to be slightly less flexible, but that’s subjective, just like the sound of Sport mode. However, it is nice to be able to get rid of it because it is not natural enough for our taste. Better still, consumption is rather respectable with an average of 11.2 l per 100 km recorded during our test, which is not in line with ecological considerations. On the highway, at 130 km/h, it will not be difficult to approach the 8.0 l average. |
The Mercedes CLE replaces above all the E-Class Coupé, while offering a little more dynamism. Despite some disappointing materials, it makes you want to carve the road.
Mercedes CLE 450 4MATIC AMG Line
Version tested: nc
Conso during the test (l/100 km) : 11.2
Mixed consumption WLTP (l/100 km): 8.6
CO2 (g/km)/penalty: 176 to 196/7,851 to 18,905 €
Fiscal power (CV): nc
Country of manufacture: Germany
Warranty: 3 years/100,000 km
Diesel CLE 220d 200 ch,
Essence CLE 200 et 300 4MATIC 204 et 258 ch, CLE 450 4MATIC 381 ch.
Engine: front, 6-cylinder petrol, turbo, direct injection, FAP, 2,999 cc, 381 hp.
Electric motor: 17 kW/205 Nm
Transmission: 4-wheel drive, auto.
Cumulative power (hp): 381
Poids (kg) : nc
Long.xlarg.xhaut. (m) 4,85×1,86×1,428
Wheelbase (m): 2.86
Turning diameter (m): 11.2
Vitesse maxi (km/h) : 250
0 to 100 km/h (s): 4.4
AV-AR 245/55 R 20 series tires
Test tires: Goodyear Eagle F1
4/2-person trunk (l): 420 to nc
Width at front/rear elbows (cm): 149/138
Rear legroom (cm): 86.9
Tank (l): nc
Burmester Audio System: price n/a
BMW 840i xDrive, 333 hp, from €114,400
To sum up
There was a time full of opulence at Mercedes. No matter what the customer wanted to buy, they found it, from the compact diesel to the luxury convertible equipped with a powerful V12, including all kinds of coupes, SUVs, pick-ups or station wagons, of all sizes. ..
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