In The Country and Town May 2024

What’s it like to drive?

We drove the predicted best-seller, which was the CLE300 and although the power is plentiful, it’s let down by a hesitant automatic gearbox and steering that lacks feel.That said, standard-fit four-wheel-drive helped inspire confidence in the bends and will certainly be a welcome attribute back in the wet and wild UK. However, there is no denying that the CLE is a heavy car – weighing in at 1,985kg. So on a twisty road, it feels a little bit out of its comfort zone, with the car wallowing when exiting a corner.Thankfully, the CLE fits the role of the comfortable cruiser well with the suspension doing a great job of absorbing any lumps and bumps in the road. Combine that with an engine which is quiet and sedate at speed and you have a drop-top which feels well-suited to sweeping bends in the sun.

How does it look?

To our eyes at least, the CLE Cabriolet is a very elegant and svelte-looking car with lots of free-flowing lines.Although similar to the coupe version, the CLE will definitely go down well for those who want to pose on the city streets.

The design of the CLE is nothing out of the ordinary with other Mercedes aesthetics and that’s no bad thing as it keeps the firm’s traditional image of class and luxury all rolled into one.

The new design makes the new car more modern and the rear tail lights that merge into the rear hatch area are a nice touch. It’s just a shame that Mercedes still designs fake-looking exhaust tailpipe exits at the rear which makes the car look cheap.

What’s it like inside?

Inside the CLE there are plenty of good points, with soft plastics used throughout and the infotainment screen was clear and easy to use. It can even be angled towards the driver further when in direct sunlight.

The space in the back was good with an ample amount of legroom and headroom wasn’t too bad with the roof up while boot space was also impressive at 385 litres – which is the same as the BMW 4-Series and five litres more than the Audi A5. One good point to make is the climate control settings are always present on the infotainment display.They may not have the mechanical feel of direct buttons, but it’s an improvement instead of burying them into the infotainment display and ensures that you can quickly and easily adjust the temperature inside the car. Furthermore, other standard features of the new CLE feature Mercedes’ AirScarf allowing warm air to blow onto the necks of the passengers to keep them warm in colder months.

What’s the spec like?

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