Reviewing the Mercedes CLE 450: The Comeback of the 6-Cylinder Engine

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Are you waiting for a successor of the C-Class Coupé or Convertible? Waiting for a successor of the E-Class Coupé or Convertible? Or are you just frustrated that a C-Class is only available as 4-cylinder even in a C63 AMG? Well, the all-new Mercedes CLE might be the answer to all the questions. Is it a good move? We’re going to find out here with Thomas and Autogefühl in 4K, full screen, full length. Let’s go with this very vehicle here, the CLE Coupé 450, under the hood, the six-cylinder, making its return to a C-Class-based vehicle. We’re going to tell you all about it and also about the Convertible back there in the background, so Coupé and Convertible of the CLE in this very review. Mercedes has told me that E-Class customers of the Coupé and the Cabriolet said, hey, we want something more dynamic, and the C-Class Coupé and Convertible customer said, we want a little bit more space. And that’s why they made this one. And of course, also for cost savings, not to have two separate models, but make one, obviously. Then here, this is the AMG line, small star patterns, beautifully done. Then you have here, LED high performance as base. This one is the optional DIGITAL LIGHT with even more high beam performance. The AMG line also has these different inserts here in the lower part, but they do not open or something. It’s closed also for aerodynamic reasons. The color here is Patagonia Red, this is also one of the Manufaktur colors, so that used to be Designo, so it’s even more price intensive, so to speak. Our Convertible back there is this graphite gray Magno matte paint. Then, towards the side profile, the very interesting thing is that… Talking about the wheelbase, this one here has a little bit shorter wheelbase than so far the E-Class Coupé, but longer wheelbase than the C-Class Coupé, so it kind of sits in between wheelbase-wise, but length-wise is even a little bit longer than the E-Class Coupé. So, indeed, size-wise, it is successor of the E-Class Coupé. Technology and base platform-wise, I rather see it as a successor of the C-Class Coupé, but when we drive it and also check out the interior, we’re going to find out more about that. The wheels here, 20-inch, these are also the biggest ones that are available, also with an aerodynamic function. The overall length, by the way, is 4.85 meters. That’s 191 inches, of course, and in the length in inch. Here you can see this really strong hip area, beautiful sensual line, but indeed a little bit longer than the C Coupé, obviously you see it also visually. This rear part here has this blacked out part in the middle, that’s I think a little bit hit and miss, but I like the light signature all the way through the side. CLE 450 is the six-cylinder, soon more about the engines, however, in the lower part there… Autogefühl Fake Exhaust Police alert because on the inside it is just a pure fake exhaust indeed. Interesting also technology-wise as for suspensions, you have a standard sport suspension that is 15 millimeters lower, then you can go for the comfort suspension that is then more than to the normal level if you want a little bit more comfort, and you can also go for an adaptive suspension that comes in a package with rear axle steering, so the rear wheels then turn in the opposite direction than the front wheels. It’s easier for parking in and out. However, the rear axle steering is not available for the Northern American market. And because it comes in the package, also the adaptive suspension is not available for the Northern American market. I think that’s not a wise decision because this vehicle is also equipped here at the moment with both, and the adaptive suspension is, of course, always a quite good thing to have. Nevertheless, also the Mercedes base suspension usually does a good job. Turning indicators in the front, very visible here in the upper part, really wide, I like that, and talking about visibility, we also have two more colors we could catch for you today. Of course, a Thomas Blue called Spectral Blue at Mercedes, or what about this High-tech Silver? Which one do you like best so far? Turning indicators in the rear, I think they do not really fit the vehicle, right? I think they’re maybe like too high or something. Yeah, this seems a little bit off. By the way, very interesting also design-wise. You can see here how the top part is slimmer than the lower part. This has this kind of yacht design, you know, from these expensive boats for billionaires and so on. Not a yard when we’re standing here. Yeah, they said, come to Spain for good weather. Yeah, sometimes in Germany, it’s better than in Spain. Let’s now compare the Convertible here in this Graphite Gray Magna. Of course, this color is also available for the Coupé. As for the roofline, I think it also looks beautiful when it’s closed. It doesn’t come that close to the Coupé. I think the Coupé closed is still more beautiful, but I also love Cabriolet. So, I think design-wise, both Coupé and Cabriolet are very well done. So, hats off to Mercedes for that from the exterior design. This roof here, by the way, in black, red or gray. So, three different colors are available and you can also remotely open it with this key fob here when you’re standing on the outside. So, that is possible. You just have to be close enough to the vehicle. Let’s take it that way and let’s see how fast it goes. You can also check out then the time code in the Youtube video player below. The Convertible now comes standard with a Comfort Package that includes the neck heater, the Air Scarf and the Air Cap system. So, when I activate it, you can see it goes up in the front and there’s also a small wind deflector going up in the rear. Or disappearing again and this is especially good when you’re driving Convertible with four people inside because then you don’t need a standard wind deflector. However, it is still available and I would also recommend that a standard huge wind deflector there behind me is the best thing for a Convertible and you can even combine both systems when you have this one put up plus the big wind deflector if you want the least wind possible. Now it’s sun again, we can leave the top open. Difference here in the rear of the Convertible, the third braking light is integrated in this chrome strip here, whereas it’s of course behind the glass then in the Coupé, and also the speaker integration here, very visible with this optional Burmester sound system. By the way, another color, I have one more Convertible for you in Alpine Gray, also a pretty cool color, isn’t it? This is the key fob, really good in the quality, I like that, then door closing sound… Is okay, I would say, considering it’s frameless, and you could see also some actions here of the seat belt reacher. When you have the ignition on, then the seat belt reacher is also going back and forth. Inside of the doors, this is all Artico leatherette, really nice design, super clean indeed. I also like this surface here as for, you know, the haptics and so on, and it looks cool. However, when the sun is directly going on there, then it is also blinding for the driver. The previous generation controls did have haptic feedback here for the seat control. That was what I preferred. They look again clean, but no real feedback for that. Cooled and heated seats are available for different seat materials for the animal skin, but also for the Artico. This here would be animal skin, but you can get the same colors also in the animal-friendly leatherette, and there’s also… A microfiber, the so-called Microcut available, that one actually offers more comfort because the material is softer. It’s also available in the U.S. And both for the Coupé and the Convertible. We have it here, for example, in the Convertible. So, when I have to go inside here, to show off the seats in the review is always a little bit trickier then because then you have to reach over for the seat controls here. And to me, the biggest problem of this vehicle is really the seating comfort, especially here with the animal skin seats because it’s different. I think the ergonomics, this is where Mercedes has been lagging behind against its competitors really lately, that the other ones have just better seat ergonomics, just from the base form of the seat. Here with 189 or 6’2", is really close already to the head, so for headroom-wise, and just the base ergonomics are not good for long-term comfort, so I can really urge you, A, the Artico is a little bit softer, and B, the best choice for the Coupé and the Convertible is when you go for the AMG line, it automatically comes with the microfiber seats. They will deliver the best comfort still for this vehicle. The Coupé can be equipped with this fixed glass roof. There is also a shade available… There is also a shade available. So, I had to turn on the ignition first. There we go. So, when it’s really, really hot, close this shade. A good thing is, of course, that for this very model, we also have the real Convertible. Five, seven, or here, 16 speakers for the Burmester sound system. These are the three possibilities. Then, we have the air vents here in a very nice turbine style with nice clicking sounds. I love this wooden deco element. I would go for that one because it doesn’t catch so much fingerprints and so on because in the middle part, yes, a lot of high-gloss black, there’s also blinding and scratches and fingerprints and so on. Interior cockpit overview, 11.9-inch digital instruments, 12.3-inch infotainment system here in this vertical integration, definitely like we know from the C-Class, so you can see this platform brother or sisterhood definitely. Lower middle console, slide this one open, then inductive charging bed, two USB-C chargers, and these cup holders, however, heavier bottles, they don’t really hold tight that much, and then you have this nice split opening here of the armrest with more chargers. Digital instruments also offer map view in the inside, but that’s, again, just the car internal system, or also these sport gauges, or you can also go full screen, map low, yeah, And that’s the thing, the sliders on the steering wheel, there we go with the full screen. Yeah, the sliders on the steering wheel, sometimes you just miss the movements. The head-up display is very extensive, I would say. Here, when you set the car internal GPS, you also have this visualization. Now, the infotainment system, this is the car internal GPS map. And there’s the main menu that is taken in from the all-new Mercedes E-Class. Apple CarPlay integration or Android Auto, wired or wireless, both is possible. We’re in the San Sebastian region here today, by the way. Climate control in the lower part always stays like that. Sadly, no physical knobs. And, of course, the most important thing that I can now finally, after all these years, Play Angry Birds inside a car, so this would be the main argument to buy this vehicle, like the new E-Class, or what do you think? Well, it is being said that irony never entirely works on the internet, so I’m wondering if I’m going to get comments now, Thomas, are you serious about this Angry Birds thing that you would buy this vehicle because of Angry Birds? And I want to show you a special feature here of the six-cylinder called Progressive Sports Sound. Without. Now with turn on. Well, I think this is a case for the, wait for it… Autogefühl Fake Sound Police. So, after the Fake Exhaust Police, now we will obviously need the Fake Sound Police. To be honest, these fake sounds, they have been done for years, not only in electric vehicles recently, but also in petrol engines, in almost all different vehicles, even in six. Obviously, even in eight cylinders, different methods are being used. Sometimes, real sound is being recorded and looped into the interior. Sometimes, it’s totally generated. Yeah, it is also, the reason for that is also because the engines are so well insulated from the cabin, which is, again, a good thing. But then, of course, the question is, is it a good approach and does it really sound well or not? In this case, probably a little bit exaggerated, isn’t it? This is a time where you can enjoy my pain and also indicate time codes, Thomas in the rear seat. That’s always a prank here when I’m climbing in tiny rear areas as a tall person. So, first test is when I am driving, that’s like, yeah, so this is, it is somewhat possible I have to, yeah, fold my knees a little bit to the outside. Headroom-wise, doesn’t work. Yeah, I can squeeze myself in here for shorter periods of time. Actually, that’s possible. Legroom-wise, it is a little bit less than in the E-Class Coupé, but more than in the C-Class Coupé. So, it’s kind of like in between as for the space that is here in the rear, and it’s also reflecting what I said about the wheelbase, a little bit less than the E-Class. So, for more agile driving, a little bit more wheelbase than the C-Class. That is exactly the result here for the legroom. Seats here are quite okay, so you don’t have to be that tall, then it’s actually fine. Speakers from the sound system here all over the place actually, that’s pretty cool. And here, by the way, you can also just split this one here, just this very single split here. Maybe you can check something from the luggage right here. Of course, there’s a ski hatch here. Although, are you using that, a ski hatch, really? Because I always think about when I put my skiers right here and they face the infotainment system, when I then brake, aren’t they, like, going into the infotainment system in an emergency case? What do you think about it? Tell me. Here, of course, a good view to the panoramic roof. Yeah, and now the question is, the second one, this seat here, the passenger seat, I have set to a position where I could still be as a passenger, so a little bit more forward than the driver’s seat, and let’s see how that one plays out as for the legroom. More or less the same, actually, as on the driver’s side. Interesting. Trunk or boot of the Coupé, let’s take a look at here, 420 liters and a meter of 40 inches in length, and it’s actually quite high. Here at 50 centimeters or 19 inches. You can see two trolleys, two backpacks, no problem at all, and you can also fold the seats. I already did that with one half from the rear compartment. Difference Convertible interior here, well, not too much, however, these buttons here for the Convertible roof and the Airscarf in the middle and against glare you have this button here like you know from the Mercedes SL that you can actually turn the screen towards you so you can better see it also when there’s a lot of sunlight coming in. The Convertible trunk now has the feature that in both ways the cover here for the roof mechanism goes back in and also out again of course here at the moment the roof is open then not too much space is left and you can also imagine that this is also reason why the plug-in hybrid is not available for the Convertible. As for engines, starting with the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine, 250 or 258 horsepower, latter one also with all-wheel drive, also the base then for the plug-in hybrid drivetrain with 20 kilowatt hours net battery 2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel and then here the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder with 381 horsepower in the CLE 450 4MATIC all-wheel drive, quite even all-wheel drive distribution as well and 4.4 seconds is here the acceleration figure and as I said in the normal C-Class, this one is not available only in the E-Class. Alright, driving the Mercedes CLE 450 4MATIC, let’s go to the sport mode. We have here the adaptive dampers and the rear axle steering, so I have more agility at slower speeds, but also a little bit less natural driving feel, I would say. Then, we also have the 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine here, 381 horsepower. We’re going onto this Spanish motorway here, and we’re at 40 kilometers an hour. Let’s see that we can safely enter and do a first acceleration like 40 to 80. Let’s go. That’s already 90 almost, pretty quick, and of course you have this more sonorous feeling from this six-cylinder engine and, well, yeah, it still makes a difference. And when we now think that… the C63 AMG, which is way more expensive, yes, also more powerful in a horsepower spec and so on. But that one doesn’t get a six-cylinder, and this one does. Well, I guess I would rather take this one. Oh, do you hear, by the way, this beep beep beep? So, even if I’m sticking to the traffic laws, and I’m just exceeding the speed by one kilometer, there’s this new EU rule that there’s this speed chime warning, but Mercedes has done it very well, that you can deactivate here on top of the infotainment system hotkey, or then press and hold the mute key a little bit longer and now it’s off. Of course, I still stick to the traffic rules. I don’t want a chime every time when I’m like 60 is allowed and I’m driving 61 or 62. That’s even not on GPS speed. That’s just on the tachometer, you know. So I think it’s a good solution that they have this shortcut then here for the customers. So it’s not that annoying. Also when you are in the normal driving mode, like comfort mode. And the 6-cylinder just brings a little bit more calmness and, yeah, just this, you know, like this culture of, you know, of the engine inside. So, it’s also more fun when you don’t use all the power. And, of course, also sound-wise, it makes a difference. It just fits to this vehicle also because it makes it more special. There has been a lot of discussion about the C-Class platform and so on, and that’s true. But then the six-cylinder thing makes it more special than you normally get in the E-Class, for example. Not for the C-Class anymore, as for the normal versions. Here in a motorway at 120 kilometers an hour. It’s really very silent, so excellent noise insulation. 120 kilometers an hour, like 70 miles an hour. I’ll set the cruise control here. It also has an active lane keeping assist. Let’s see… Just make a room for the truck there. So here we go now. Yeah, there we go. When you see these Green arrows, now the active lane keeping assist is active. There, it’s being kept in the lane in a very, very smooth way. So, very good elaborated assistance systems. There’s also blind spot monitor inside, for example. And also, in this Comfort mode, the adaptive suspension is a little bit softer, and I’m not missing an air suspension here, as long as the road is actually good. And, you know, the suspension that Mercedes is building, they are usually very good both in comfort and sportiness and also in this compromise. Yeah, one tricky thing here, told you that earlier, that on the US market, which will still be the most important market for this vehicle, you will not get the adaptive suspension and the rear-axle steering. When you have wider roads and so on, I think you can live without the rear-axle steering, yes, and rear-axle steering is also pro and con. As I said, it’s more agile at lower speeds and also really helps when parking in and out. Yet again, it can create a feeling of a little bit less natural driving feeling because the rear moves a little bit more. That’s really personal preference, but that they don’t offer adaptive suspension, yeah, because that’s like a pack together. Why did I do this move here? Want to look in there? So, that’s a pack together. Yeah, but I think they should offer the adaptive suspension as a single option on the US market. However, normal sport suspension or comfort suspension will also be fine. I would actually rather go for the comfort suspension because the fixed sport suspension might be a little bit too rough if you want to rather use it for cruising and so on. But here, the overall handling of the car feels pretty sophisticated, and yes, it does feel more sophisticated than the C-Class. That was also one of the core things here to consider. Remember, wheelbase is a little bit shorter than with the E-Class, or with previous E-Class Coupé, to be precise, but longer than with the current C-Class. And you feel that this vehicle is somewhat in between. However, you do feel the platform similarities. So it is definitely closer to a C-Class than to an E-Class. You also feel that. But you also feel somewhat this in-between character, especially since we have this six-cylinder here. Let’s do some more dynamic driving. Nice, very subtle sound feedback from that six-cylinder. It is not that loud, actually. Also, when you stand on the outside, you hear that it is really not loud at all. Of course, that’s the European version with the OPF, the Otto-Partikelfilter. Listen and repeat. Otto-Partikelfilter. Particle filter for the petrol engine. So in the US versions, it will sound better, definitely. What’s also interesting here in the settings, you can also add then the progressive sound, of course, while driving. That’s what it’s meant to be. You heard it in a static way, and here in this dynamic way then, so let’s see. You also hear that it sounds a little bit better when you’re already driving, then it’s not as artificial as I would apply it in a static way. But it doesn’t match the real six-cylinder feeling and vibrations and so on you would usually hear. You know what I mean? So you still somewhat feel it’s artificial, so I’m not really sure if it helps that much. But I mean, you can turn it on, you can turn it off, so it really depends on if you like it or not. The all-wheel drive distribution here, by the way, it’s quite wet now, so all-wheel drive can help. Slippery situations, of course, only when accelerating out. Never mistake that all-wheel drive helps you in corners as for, you know, more grip or something. That doesn’t make any sense. So, when you have the all-wheel drive version here, the distribution is quite equal. So, there’s not a heavy rear bias. So, and usually we have that with other competitors, and I also feel when you do a sporty car, the all-wheel drive should actually have… Rear wheel bias, I feel, you know, so wow. Yeah, but it’s still quite nice. So tell me what you think here while driving if you think here the sound feedback is actually a little bit better than what I just statically. I really found very cool that they work on that steering input here. That’s really cool. So one of the best things about this new generation here both C-Class and E-Class and that this is here something in between even though… From the whole interior is more towards the C-Class. They have really fixed the steering input, so it has feedback also in low degree angles, it feels progressive, it feels very sporty, super crisp and direct, and never would have thought that here the Mercedes steering is clearly better than the BMW competitors, for example. Audi is also very good in the progressive steering, definitely. But here Mercedes-Benz has really worked on the steering feel That’s really good. So in this new generation Mercedes steering is awesome, suspension is awesome, seating comfort long term. That’s the thing. Because they and, you know, new Mercedes-Benz models took design first. Like let’s design a seat that looks awesome and then let’s make it somewhat fit. And the right approach would be let’s make it fit around the driver. Let’s build it for… a person that is most comfortable, and then having these facts, let’s also make it look good. Should be the, you know? Yeah, form follows function. That’s the thing always. So, the whole driving feeling it conveys is really excellent. You feel one with the vehicle. That’s pretty cool. And as for the fuel economy, well, this 6-cylinder here is also very good in that one, and I feel even better than the 4-cylinders, especially when you push the vehicle, then the 4-cylinders go really nuts as for the fuel economy. Or the fuel consumption in this case. So here a very realistic figure is eight liters on 100 kilometers. You can also even go seven liters on 100 kilometers if you really keep it steady and drive in an economic way. So you can easily score some 30 mpg us or even like would be like 40 mpg uk and that’s i think a good result for an engine that is that good in performance it’s always with this MHEV system Mild Hybrid technology so you can regenerates some energy that is also helping, but it’s also the general efficiency of the engine and the aerodynamic factor and so on of this vehicle. Of course, when the vehicle is now longer, it actually serves the aerodynamic purpose. So, the initial question was, is it just a pumped up C-Class or something and then made it as a Coupé? Well, it is indeed something in between. So, you have this length even a little bit longer than the E-Class Coupé was before, and features like the six-cylinder that is only offered in the E-Class now, but still, technology-wise, it is definitely closer to the C-Class. Pricing-wise, however, how could it be different? It is closer to the E-Class Coupé, like a German pricing where the E-Class Coupé was a little bit more than €50,000. This one now starts a little bit less than €50,000. So, there’s a smaller gap to the E-Class Coupé than to the C-Class Coupé pricing-wise here now with the all-new Mercedes CLE. Styling-wise, I think it works very well. Interior-wise, I think the seat comfort needs to be better. Definitely, I have enjoyed driving the six-cylinder here with the CLE 450. Now, tell me what you think about this concept and join us for C-Class or E-Class content.

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