New Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 adds more than just horsepower

Latest performance coupe from AMG brings firepower and tech to the CLE range, replacing previous-generation C 43 and E 53 coupes

  • Currently the fastest CLE 
  • 443bhp six-cylinder engine with mild-hybrid tech
  • Features four-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering

With the C-Class Coupe and E-Class Coupe no longer on sale, the Mercedes CLE not only has the responsibility to replace the standard models, but the faster AMG variants too. The new Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 hopes to fill those boots, arriving with a powerful six-cylinder engine and the latest driving technology that Mercedes has to offer.

What’s under the bonnet of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 53?

The CLE 53 is, above all else, a performance car, so let's start with the engine. It uses the same turbocharged, 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine found in the lesser CLE 450, now with power turned up to 443bhp, a 68bhp increase. There’s a mild-hybrid system too, aiding both efficiency and performance. The integrated electric motor can briefly produce 23bhp and 205Nm of torque, meaning setting off from a standstill should be smoother and quicker than the petrol engine alone could muster. 

The engine is connected to a nine-speed automatic gearbox that delivers power to all four wheels of the CLE 53. The combination of speedy automatic gear shifts and four-wheel drive traction help the CLE 53 to launch from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds – faster than both the old C 43 and E 53. Drivers will be glad to know that Mercedes has fitted more powerful brakes to help bring the CLE 53 to a stop.

Any new features I should know about?

All CLE 53s feature rear-wheel steering, a system that should help the CLE 53 feel more agile through low-speed corners and around town, but also more stable on faster roads. Also fitted as standard is Mercedes’ adaptive suspension system that can be adjusted through different modes, Comfort, Sport and Sport+, each providing a unique balance between ride quality and handling.

Externally, the CLE 53 gets a set of 20-inch wheels and wider wheel arches to bolster its sporty appearance, and there’s a new set of round exhaust pipe trims at the tail.

What about the CLE 53’s interior?

Not much has changed when compared to the other CLE models in the range, the 53 coming with the same 11.9-inch central infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch driver’s display, the latter now featuring AMG-exclusive performance data. There’s a choice between regular or more expensive Nappa leather, and the front seats feature the AMG crest embossed into the headrests.

How much will it cost and when can I order one?

Mercedes is yet to disclose pricing for the CLE 53, but it will sit above the current top-spec model, the CLE 450 Premier Edition, which starts from £72,765. Expect a starting price in the region of £80,000 when it reaches the UK early next year.

What does it mean for car buyers?

If you’re in the market for a luxurious but performance-oriented four-seater coupe, there aren’t many options besides the CLE 53 or the BMW M440i. We loved the BMW during our in-depth testing, but if you find yourself struggling to accept that car’s contentious looks, there’s now an alternative to consider.

If you want to read about other alternatives to the Mercedes-AMG CLE 53, read our list of the best hybrid performance cars…

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