This glossy prototype is the brand new Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe, a future alternative for each the present C-class and E-class coupes that’s sized someplace between the 2. The coupe might be joined by a Cabriolet variant that we’ve additionally seen testing, and the vary might be topped by a flagship AMG 63 mannequin sharing the brand new C63 S’s hybrid powertrain.
The brand new CLE might be largely based mostly on the W207 C-class that was launched final 12 months, using on a rear-wheel drive platform. Alongside its new moniker, it’ll characteristic a totally bespoke design that doesn’t share any components with both C or E fashions, as is evident from this prototype’s bespoke headlights and sloping rear finish.
Powertrain choices will mimic the C-class, too, so it’ll solely be obtainable with four-cylinder engines with various ranges of hybridisation. As is the case with the C-class, the shortage of six- or eight-cylinder choices is down to 2 most important causes. First, AMG desires to spotlight its E Efficiency hybrid tech, and when mixed with the M197 V8 this is able to convey the extent of efficiency, price and complexity over and above the CLE’s market positioning.
Mercedes’s six-cylinder powertrains gained’t be used for a special purpose, particularly that the in-line structure of the engines is bodily too lengthy to suit throughout the CLE’s C-class based mostly chassis. Mercedes-Benz engineers have already confirmed that to suit a straight-six powertrain into this packaging set would require the entrance axle to be moved an additional 50mm ahead, a step too far for an engine that will be each a distinct segment choice, and out carried out by AMG’s new technology of four-cylinder models.
Which brings us neatly to four-cylinder’s functions within the new CLE’s AMG variants. As with the brand new C43, we count on an preliminary CLE43 to characteristic the M139l four-cylinder engine incorporating AMG’s new electrically-driven turbocharger. Within the new C43 saloon, this powertrain is rated at 402bhp, giving it a 35bhp energy benefit over the outgoing C43 Coupe. A top-spec CLE63 S may even comply with, pairing this identical four-cylinder engine with AMG’s electrified rear axle structure that ought to see mixed energy figures rise to over 600bhp.
The CLE63 S can have a key rival within the BMW M4 Competitors, a mannequin that’s extra mechanically pure, but in addition certain to be a way off the AMG’s potential energy and torque figures. Audi’s subsequent technology RS5 Coupe is extra up within the air, as Audi’s present vary of combustion fashions is due for its personal large shakeup as its all-electric e-tron fashions sync into the vary. Audi will construct a brand new technology RS4 property, however the RS5 Coupe’s decrease gross sales volumes make it much less more likely to survive the chop.
Mercedes’s want to consolidate its expansive vary is available in mild of the electrical EQ fashions which can be being developed alongside its current combustion fashions. By lowering this complexity, it’ll liberate engineering and manufacturing assets, whereas the brand new CLE’s placement above the earlier C-Class may even give Mercedes an opportunity to pump up the worth factors, fulfilling the model’s want to concentrate on high-end, high-margin fashions.
Mercedes hasn’t confirmed once we’ll see its CLE coupe and convertible fashions, however given the near-production stage of this prototype, we’d counsel it’ll arrive a while in direction of the top of this 12 months, if not early ‘23.