The Mercedes-AMG CLE53 Coupe; Sleek Form Hiding Inline-Six PowerDecember 7, 2023
We often use words like “sleek” and “sporty” to describe luxury performance coupes; and sometimes, if we’re feeling particularly enthralled by its design, we might just throw in “sexy” for good measure. As journalists, we know something like beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and is rather subjective), but we think it’s safe to say all three descriptors fit the newest coupe to come from Mercedes-AMG.
The CLE53 coupe is said to combine the “agility and sportiness” of the AMG C-Class with the “interior space and elegance” of the AMG E-Class. And if the looks don’t quite do it for you, that’s fair; but, it’s hard to deny the appeal of the 53’s powertrain– a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six producing 443 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, hitting 60 mph in 4.0-seconds and electronically limited to a 155 mph top speed.
Like a seasoned weightlifter in a hoodie, the CLE53’s smooth exterior hides plenty of toned muscle. At its heart is an AMG-ified M256M engine, the aforementioned 3.0-liter inline-six, built with optimized combustion chambers, new piston rings, better injection and a new exhaust gas turbocharger. We need to qualify it as “exhaust gas” because this turbo is joined by another boost builder: An electric auxiliary compressor, joining forces to increase pressure to a total 22 psi. Translating into something you can feel, overboost delivers a temporarily hike in torque to 443 lb-ft for up to 12 seconds.
The AMG CLE53 also utilizes a second-generation integrated starter generator, mounted into the bellhousing of the 9-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT transmission as part of the 48-volt mild-hybrid system. All power is transferred to the tarmac through an AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. AMG’s “RIDE CONTROL” suspension setup is present, using steel springs and adaptive damping tethered to Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings. Handling is further enhanced by standard rear-wheel steering.
Even with a stealthy paint job, the AMG CLE53 coupe is an attention grabber. It has grown slightly when compared to the Mercedes-Benz CLE, now 2.3-inches wider upfront and roughly 3-inches wider in the rear. Though 19-inch wheels are the standard offering, 20-inch “dubs” are available from the factory, and AMG has made available additional exterior packages for further personalization.
The interior is about what you’d expect; that is, a mix of luxury and performance bridged by abundant screen real estate. That’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel paired to an 11.9-inch infotainment system, the latter oriented in a more vertical, tablet-style orientation. The seats are upholstered in a mix of MB-Tex and microfiber, with optional Nappa leather and AMG Performance seats available as upgrades. The steering wheel is flat-bottomed, housing controls for selecting drive modes and other functions.
No official word on pricing or availability just yet, but we assume to see keys landing in customer hands sometime next year. And our Road Test team can’t wait for a set to wind up on one of their desks, so stay tuned!