New Mercedes-AMG CLE53 – two more cylinders for £25,000 less than a C63
The new CLE coupe has gained a straight-six engined AMG version, with prices starting from £72,990
Following the launch of the CLE last year, Mercedes has given the new coupe the AMG treatment with this: the CLE53. While the 63 range-topper is still under wraps for now, the mild-hybrid CLE53 packs a punch with an AMG-specific design, an overhauled powertrain and new chassis tech to boot.
Unlike its more potent four-cylinder hybrid C63 S E Performance relative, the CLE53 makes use of the marque’s newly-upgraded M256M 3-litre twin-turbocharged in-line six cylinder, now with 443bhp and 413lb ft of torque (or 443lb ft for 12sec during overboost) thanks to a raft of upgrades.
Optimised combustion chambers with tweaked inlet and outlet channels, new piston rings and optimised fuel injection all contribute to an improvement in performance, helping this hot CLE reach 62mph from standstill in 4.2sec and a top speed of 155mph. The price? £72,990, or £25,165 cheaper than the four-pot C63. Given that the CLE effectively replaces previous coupe versions of the C-class and E-class, expect a hybrid powered 63 model to arrive at some stage to sit alongside the C63 saloon.
Chassis tweaks are said to have made the CLE53 more agile and neutral than the models that came before it, with a ‘sporty’ spring setup and on-the-fly adjustable damping allowing it to adapt to changing road conditions. Like the previous E53, power is sent through a fully-variable, rear-biased all-wheel drive system capable of sending 100 per cent of the power to the rear axle in Drift mode – under normal driving conditions, the front axle is also decoupled for efficiency.
Rear-wheel steering is standard, improving agility by steering in the opposite direction to the front wheels at an angle of up to 2.5 degrees. At over 62mph, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels at up to 0.7 degrees, virtually lengthening its wheelbase for an improvement in high speed stability. A single brake option is available at launch, with a 370mm, four-piston setup at the front and a 360mm single-piston floating caliper setup at the rear.
The design blends elements of the C-class and E-class coupe models it replaces, with its long bonnet featuring aggressive ridges and a central air outlet to match the new C63 S E Performance. A Panamericana-style grille makes its AMG status clear, with aggressive LED Digital Light headlights also new to the model. Unlike some middling AMG models of the past, the CLE53 features unique flared arches, 58mm and 75mm wider front and rear than the standard car. Heavily-dished, 20-inch AMG-specific wheels (similar in design to those on the EQS53) are also new, with a boot-mounted lip spoiler and quad exhaust tips setting it apart from the rest of the range.
The cabin has also received the AMG treatment for a striking, tech-heavy design. Running the latest generation MBUX software is a free-standing 12.3-inch digital dashboard, mounted alongside a smaller 11.9-inch portrait infotainment display. Dynamic ambient lighting offers 64 colours to choose from, with the CLE53 available exclusively with leather or Nappa leather in the UK, featuring an embossed AMG coat of arms in the headrests. A flat-bottomed AMG Performance steering wheel is also standard, and features dual displays for added configurability.
UK buyers will be given the option of the Pro Performance package, which combines ‘AMG Optics’ and ‘AMG Dynamic Plus’ for tweaks to design and performance. More aggressive aero elements front and rear come as part of the Optics package, alongside an upgraded Nappa leather and a microfiber-trimmed steering wheel. The AMG Dynamic Plus brings the Race and Drift driving modes to the model, and also adds active engine mounts.
Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé specs
|3-litre twin-turbocharged in-line six-cylinder
|413lb ft (443lb ft with overboost)