Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Coupé

With the CLE, Mercedes has amalgamated the old C-class Coupe and E-Class Coupe into one model, just like it used to do in the 90s and early 2000s with the CLK.

Compared with the standard Mercedes CLE, the 53 gets a new front bumper, an AMG-style Panamericana grille, a large rear spoiler and decorative diffuser.

Thanks to wider wheelarches, it’s also 58mm wider at the front and 75mm wider at the rear, enhancing its aggressive look.

Further back, the 53 gets AMG-specific door mirrors and a more aggressive rear end, thanks to a restyled bumper and lip spoiler. 

Mechanically, it’s more of a halfway house between the full-fat AMGs and the standard Mercedes. It develops 442bhp, but does it from a breathed-on standard Mercedes engine, rather than a full handmade Affalterbach product. The twin-turbo M 256M engine is very similar to what you get in the Mercedes CLE 450, but gets twin turbos increasing boost pressure by 0.4 bar to 1.5 bar, as well as an electric compressor that can provide boost before the regular turbos have spooled up. This compressor, as well as a 23bhp electric motor in the gearbox, are powered off the 48V mild hybrid system.

The engine drives through the standard Mercedes nine-speed ‘TCT’ torque converter automatic, rather than the racier ‘MCT’ AMG box with its wet startup clutch.

The CLE 53 has fully variable four-wheel drive that, if optioned right, includes a rear-drive-only drift mode. There’s 2.5 degrees of rear-wheel steering and what Mercedes calls AMG Ride Control, which are AMG-tuned adaptive dampers with coil springs.

Where things get really interesting is if you option the £7500 Pro Performance Package. This adds a bunch of cosmetic carbon fibre trinkets, but more importantly, bucket seats that lower the driving position, dynamic engine mounts, the aforementioned drift mode, as well as a ‘race’ drive mode with a more rear-biased 4WD setting.

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