Video: Ex-Top Gear Co-Host Drives the New Mercedes CLE, Is It a Budget GT?

Mercedes' modern vehicle lineup can be a bit confusing, as, besides some traditional models, you also get several completely new ones. One of them is the CLE, which may sound familiar, but it is a fresh entry into their portfolio.
Mercedes-Benz CLE 450 Coupe 11 photos
Photo: Screenshot Youtube | AutoTrader
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Replacing the two-door versions of the old C-Class and E-Class, it came to life at the request of customers, according to the German car firm, as the owners of the former wanted more space and those of the latter sportier driving dynamics. Thus, the CLE was born, and it sits between the modern-day C- and E-Class in terms of size, rivaling the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series.

Sporting the typical design language of the three-pointed star brand, it looks like a mix between the two. The CLE features a familiar interior layout with a touchscreen infotainment screen with a portrait orientation in the middle, tablet-like digital dials, and comfortable front seats. It comes with all the bells and whistles required from such a ride, including multiple tech routines, TikTok, and Angry Birds, and it is bathed in ambient lighting at night.

In terms of power, the first-ever Mercedes CLE is offered, depending on the market, with multiple gasoline and diesel units. All of them feature mild-hybrid tech for some well-deserved electric boost. There is no manual transmission anymore, as the sole option is the nine-speed auto 'box. This unit is not the most responsive, but it does the job rather well, especially when combined with the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel on faster models.

Speaking of which, there is still the option of getting a six-cylinder engine. The 3.0-liter unit features turbocharging and mild hybridization, kicking out 375 hp (380 ps/280 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. Mercedes claims it can do the 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 4.4 seconds, which makes it about as fast as an entry-level Porsche. The maximum speed is capped at 155 mph or 250 kph in this version, which was christened the CLE 450.

And it was precisely this model that was put to the test on the open road by Rory Reid. Some of you may remember him from his old Top Gear days, but he has been with AutoTrader for a few years now. So, what did the reviewer have to say about the Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe in the 450 configuration? Was he impressed with the build quality, multiple gadgets, design, practicality, and other aspects of this two-door machine? Would he recommend it? And more importantly, is it a budget grand tourer or a posh sports ride? There is only one way to find out, and that's by scrolling down to the video embedded below and clicking the play button.

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About the author: Cristian Gnaticov
Cristian Gnaticov profile photo

After a series of unfortunate events put an end to Cristian's dream of entering a custom built & tuned old-school Dacia into a rally competition, he moved on to drive press cars and write for a living. He's worked for several automotive online journals and now he's back at autoevolution after his first tour in the mid-2000s.
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