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[Test Drive] Mercedes-Benz’s new CLE Coupe not your average 2-door

420-liter trunk can easily hold 3 golf bags

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Sept. 13, 2023 - 07:02

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The Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe (Mercedes-Benz) The Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe (Mercedes-Benz)

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN -- If someone were asked to talk about the traits of a regular two-door coupe, words like quick, slick and compact might come to mind. Mercedes-Benz is looking to change these norms with the launch of its new CLE Coupe.

The Korea Herald got to experience the new CLE Coupe 450 4 Matic first hand during a global media test drive event held in the northern Spanish city of San Sebastian from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1.

The vehicle's facade embodies both athleticism and elegance, with a forward-leaning front dubbed the “shark nose” and a low-slung bonnet. The two contoured power domes on the long hood gave an edge to the car’s dynamic appearance. The newly-designed radiator grill is aesthetic and stylish, boasting a chrome finish and a pattern with Mercedes-Benz's iconic three-way star.

What really stood out from the CLE Coupe’s design was how much longer and wider it is than an average coupe. At 4,850 millimeters long, 1,860 mm wide and 1,428 mm high, the new two-door is the largest coupe in the mid-size coupe segment, according to Mercedes-Benz. Its wheelbase is 25 mm longer than the C-Class Coupe, creating more space inside the car. Unlike traditional coupes that make rear seat passengers look uncomfortable, the back seats of the new CLE Coupe felt comfortable even for the Herald reporter, who is 184 centimeters tall.

The front seats of the Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe (Mercedes-Benz) The front seats of the Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe (Mercedes-Benz)

The trunk, which is 60 liters bigger than that of the C-Class Coupe, can now hold up to 420 liters. Mercedes-Benz highlighted that the new car could easily carry three golf bags in the trunk. Although the new CLE Coupe would not be labeled as a family car, it offers enough space for three people to go on a golfing trip.

Mercedes-Benz installed the company’s first easy entry function for the new two-door. The front seats can be folded over with a loop located on the upper edge of the backrest. Once the loop is pulled, the front seats fold and automatically slide forward to allow for easy access to the back seats.

The ride felt different from an average coupe. The steering of the new CLE Coupe felt heavier or more firm than other coupes that were lighter and provided easier control of the steering wheel. However, the additional weight on the wheel didn't make for a slower drive. With its chassis 15 mm lower than the automaker’s sedan, the vehicle's acceleration was agile, and the firm handle made the driving experience feel safe and stable, even at a high speed.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the new CLE Coupe will be released in Europe in the fourth quarter of this year and is expected to hit the Korean market in the first quarter of 2024. For the German market, the prices of the CLE 220 d and 300 4 Matic begin at 58,000 euros ($62,000) and 68,000 euros, respectively. The price of the 450 4 Matic has not yet been disclosed. Mercedes-Benz said it will also offer the CLE Coupe as a plug-in hybrid at a later date.

Trunk of Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe (Mercedes-Benz) Trunk of Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe (Mercedes-Benz)