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Mercedes-Benz CLE Cabriolet previews a sun-filled summer in Europe

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  • February 13, 2024

The Mercedes-Benz CLE Cabriolet takes the stage as the third variant in the new model line. A year ago we saw the 2024 CLE Coupe for the first time; two months ago, the 2024 AMG CLE 53. If you remember the look of the coupe, the effect of Stuttgart barbers taking a little off the top looks just as you’d expect. A powered, multi-layer soft top that will be available in black, gray, or red depending on market can be lowered in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. When lowered, four occupants can keep their hair somewhat styled with the help of the deployable Aircap wind deflector above the windshield and another deflector behind the rear seats. Passengers can also bring more gear along for the ride: Trunk space comes to 13.6 cubic feet with the top up, 10.4 cubes with the top down. The trunk on the 2023 E 450 Cabriolet could swallow just 9.5 cubic feet with the top up, the C 300 Cab just 8.8 cubic feet.  

Occupant space also improves thanks to proportions that lean toward those of the retired E Cabriolet instead of the smaller C. At 191 inches long, 73.3 inches wide, and 56.1 inches tall, the CLE is a half-inch longer, 0.2 inch wider, and 0.6 inch lower than the E 450 droptop. The CLE’s 112.8-inch wheelbase is just 0.3 inch shorter than the E 450’s, an inch longer than that of the C 300 droptop.      

Buyers in Europe enjoy a feast of powertrain options. Four mild hybrid options begin with a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel making 194 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque. Above that, three gasoline engines. The first we don’t expect to come here, it being a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 201 hp and 236 lb-ft., serving a CLE 200. The second is more our style, the same turbo 2.0-liter four-pot making 255 hp and 295 hp in a CLE 300; the departed C 300 Convertible made 255 hp and 273 lb-ft from the same size engine. The top of the range for now is a powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six making 375 hp and 369 lb-ft., just a few horses above the 362 ponies in our E 450 Cabriolet, and the same torque. Hotter AMG versions like the CLE 53 and its 443 hp and 443 lb-ft will follow.

An interior styled like that of the latest C-Class includes the familiar displays and the latest MBUX abilities such as getting on Zoom calls, use the web browser Vivaldi, and stream videos through Zync. Then there are convertible-specific touches like the Airscarf neck warmer, sun-reflecting leather to keep the interior cooler than expected in direct sunlight, and an infotainment display that can be tilted from 15 to 40 degrees to escape glare. 

The CLE Cabriolet will be replacing the C and E convertibles in the U.S. product lineup. European deliveries are slated to begin in about two months. We’re probably looking at at U.S. launch this summer, or later this year as a 2025 model.

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