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2024 Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Coupe First Look: An Excellent Amalgamation

Powerful and ominous, the CLE 53 AMG would be the perfect car for Darth Vader

2024 Mercedes Benz CLE 53 front
  • All-New 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLE Coupe replaces C-Class and E-Class AMG coupes.
  • The agility of the C-Class combined with the interior space and sophistication of the E-Class = a winning formula.
  • Powertrain develops 443 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque (up to 443 lb-ft in brief bursts).
  • If Darth Vader were in the market for a car, the CLE 53 AMG Coupe would be it.
2024 Mercedes Benz CLE 53 rear

For 2024, Mercedes-Benz downsized and combined the C-Class and E-Class coupes (and convertibles) into one new luxury 2+2 called the CLE. Our first turn behind the wheel of a CLE 300 left the impression that this is more of a cruiser than a sport coupe. The CLE 450 we drove next was more dynamic (a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with 375 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque will do that), but the suspension and tuning were still Mercedes-soft. Which brings us to AMG, Merc's in-house performance sub-brand.

2024 Mercedes Benz CLE 53 dashboard

A little from Column C and a bit from Column E

The interior design of the CLE is basically the same as the new C-Class, complete with the requisite 64-color ambient disco lighting, which really stands out at night, an 11.9-inch center touch display and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. But the amount of interior room is closer to the previous E-Class coupe, with rear seating sufficient for passengers 5-foot-10 on short road trips. Longer excursions will require frequent stops to stretch.

2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE 53 profile

Plenty of power

The CLE 53 is equipped with AMG’s most recent 3.0-liter inline-six that uses both an electric motor and a turbocharger. Enhancements to the motor and turbo raise output to 443 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque (increasing briefly to 443 lb-ft with an overboost function engaged) — a healthy bump from the old E 53 and its 429 hp and 384 lb-ft. That’s plenty for a car this size.

The CLE 53 further employs a nine-speed automatic transmission and Mercedes' 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system, which adds a fun, rear-drive-only Drift mode. There's also standard rear-axle steering, enabling the rear wheels a maximum steering angle of 2.5 degrees, either in opposition to the front wheels at low speeds (for tidier U-turns) or in the same driection at higher speeds (for better stability on the freeway). These features are also found in the new AMG GT Coupe.

If you have a car going fast, you’ll eventually need it to stop, and stop quickly. The AMG CLE 53 is equipped with a high-performance braking system with 14.6-inch rotors and four-piston fixed calipers up front and 14.2-inch rotors with single-piston floating calipers in the rear.

2024 Mercedes-Benz CLE 53 wheel

Whatever it is, I want it!

AMG likes having power but also presence, and the CLE AMG has a lot of presence. Viewing it from the front, you can see its athletic, menacing stance from far away. The available matte black paint makes it even more ominous. In fact, if Darth Vader wanted a car, he would probably get this CLE AMG. For those who want more customization, there will be an optional AMG Performance Studio package that gives you more aero flair and accenting, two AMG Night packages and two AMG Carbon Fiber packages. The latter weren't elaborated on, but we expect they add exterior trim elements and interior veneers made of the lightweight material.

Edmunds says

We loved the sliky smoothness and effortless performance of the previous E 53. The same powertrain, now with even more performance, has us excited to get behind the wheel of the new CLE 53.