In The Country and Town May 2024

The Mercedes CLE Cabriolet has arrived just in time for summer – but is it better than its rivals?

By Cameron Richards, PA Motoring Reporter

What is it?

The CLE replaces the C-Class coupe and now Mercedes has decided to chop the roof off it to make it attractive to those who want the wind in the hair experience. Essentially a forerunner to the old C-Class Cabriolet, the CLE Cabriolet is directly competing with the convertible versions of the BMW 4-Series and Audi A5. Designed to offer four-seater luxury with the ability to travel longer distances, Mercedes has created the CLE Cabriolet to be refined, comfortable and above all, engaging to drive.That’s the intention, anyway, which is why we’ve headed to sunny Tenerife to see what it’s all about.

What’s new?

The Cabriolet version of the CLE, like the coupe model, has a new exterior design with a more curved and swooping body compared with the C-Class models it replaces, while a longer wheelbase – with an extra 164mm over its predecessor – aims to make the interior more spacious for everyone aboard. The fabric hood has been designed to stand up to the very harshest of weather.This is down to an insulated multi-layered soft top, which can be operated at speeds of up to 37mph and takes 20 seconds to be lowered and raised. Plus, a new and improved ‘AirCap’ system located in the top frame of the windscreen allows the air to flow over the car at greater height to reduce drag and wind noise.

What’s under the bonnet?

A range of engines are on offer for the CLE Cabriolet including two 2.0-litre in-line four cylinders in the CLE200 and CLE300.A 2.0-litre diesel, meanwhile, is found on the CLE220 D and the top-of-the-line CLE450 comes with a 3.0-litre in-line six petrol. Mild-hybrid technology comes as standard on all versions to help improve efficiency, economy and CO2 emissions. Our test car was the CLE300 which came with a 2.0-litre in-line four- cylinder that produces 261bhp and 400Nm of torque – with emissions and fuel economy figures of 167g/km of CO2 and 38.2mpg. Mercedes quotes a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds, too.

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