Spy shots

Mercedes-AMG CLE63 Cabriolet spied – high performance four-seat cabrio on its way

C-class and E-class convertibles to be amalgamated into one CLE model, topped by a hybrid-powered CLE63 S flagship

Mercedes has been testing a hot AMG version of its incoming CLE Cabriolet, a new mid-sized four-seat convertible that will replace both existing C- and E-class convertibles. The new model is part of Merc’s plan to consolidate its current range, and while this cold-weather prototype does have a lot of body-disguising camouflage, there are a few key elements that reveal this specific car’s identity, all-but confirming it’s a flagship AMG 63 variant.  

This starts with the front wings, which look significantly wider than those found on other CLE prototypes. These not only cover larger and wider wheels and tyres, but also a chunky braking package and a significant amount of negative camber – all elements usually reserved for top-spec 63s. 

The rear tyres look equally massive, sporting their own widened arches that suggest, like the current C63 S convertible, the CLE63 will feature a bespoke side-pressing – an expensive, but in this case necessary exercise. As for what powertrain we expect to be featured, it’s almost a certainty that it will join the forthcoming C63 S in dropping the V8 in favour of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired to AMG’s E Performance electrified rear axle. 

The engine likely to be found under the bonnet is AMG’s M139 unit that’s currently found in the A45 S, and like it will produce upwards of 400bhp on its own. This will combine with a 93bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle that’s expected to be able to produce as much as 200bhp for short periods of time. If the system is the same as the one found in the forthcoming C-class, it’ll be fed by a 6.1kWh battery pack, and have the ability to feed its power back up to the front axle. 

With a little while until its expected debut, this CLE63 prototype still has lots of early development components fitted, including non-production lighting, bumpers and exhaust elements. The rear quarter panel’s extra width also looks to be made up from additional cladding, rather than a bespoke quarter panel – suggesting that none of its exterior bodywork aside from the door skins are production-relevant. 

The mystery in the CLEs case is when, or if, a coupe version will also be offered, as up until this point, any fixed-roof prototypes have yet to be seen. If it does arrive, it, like the cabriolet, will replace both the C-class and E-class coupes, and will almost definitely fill in the void left by the C63 S coupe, giving the BMW M4 a fresh new rival in the process. 

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