Based on the same platform as the C-Class saloon, the CLE is low, sleek and sporty. Its lines are uncluttered, starting at the front with a low, shark-nose grille design that has echoes of the company’s 1950s Carrera Panamerica racer. A long bonnet, sweeping profile, curved roof and heavily raked rear screen tick all the right boxes for a suave, eye-pleasing coupé. Yet there’s 420 litres of boot space (enough for three sets of golf clubs) and more space for rear-seat passengers than in the previous C-Class coupé.


There’s no pure electric EQ version of the CLE, though all models feature 48V mild-hybrid assistance. The range starts with a 200hp 2.0-litre diesel engine that will reach 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and return up to 60.1mpg on the WLTP cycle. Petrol options start with the CLE 200, a 2.0-litre four cylinder powering the rear wheels, with a 0-62mph time of 7.4 seconds. The same 2.0 engine in a higher state of tune powers the CLE 300, bringing the 0-62mph time down to 6.2 seconds, while the range flagship, the CLE 450, boasts a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six with 375bhp and 369lb ft of torque for a 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds. All wheel drive is optionally available for the CLE 200, standard on the 300 and 450.


Much of the interior layout and MBUX operating system is identical to the C-Class saloon, with a clear 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 11.9-inch portrait infotainment system mounted centrally beneath three distinctive dash-top air vents. You can play third-party apps such as TikTok, Zoom video conferencing and Vivaldi internet browser on the touchscreen (but not while driving). MBUX Augmented Reality for Navigation merges graphic navigation instructions and traffic information into live images. Standard equipment includes keyless go, memory seats and a customisable ambient lighting system.


The CLE comes with a comprehensive package of safety measures, including attention assist, active brake assist, lane keeping, speed limit warning and a reversing camera. The optional Advanced Plus package adds blind spot assist and traffic sign recognition.