The convertible is getting rarer these days, especially for Mercedes-Benz. The company has killed the SLC, S-Class Cabriolet, and the AMG GT Roadster in recent years, while also phasing out drop-top versions of the C-Class and E-Class. However, those latter two are being indirectly replaced by a new model – the CLE Cabriolet.
Following a preview last July, the new Mercedes with an electrically folding fabric roof bares it all in official images. Positioned below the pricey SL, the CLE Cabriolet is touted as being the biggest car in its segment. The four-seater model is 191.0 inches long, 73.2 inches wide, and 56.0 inches tall, with a generous wheelbase of 112.8 inches.
2024 Mercedes CLE Cabriolet
It's also quite practical for a convertible by being able to swallow up to 13.5 cubic feet in the cargo area. However, the volume drops to 10.4 cu ft if the roof is folded. For extra convenience, the rear seats have a 60:40 split and can be folded by using the buttons in the trunk.
The standard seats are wrapped in what Mercedes calls "man-made nappa leather-effect upholstery." At an extra cost, you can opt for real leather with a special coating to block the sun's near-infrared rays on a hot summer's day. The German luxury brand has conducted tests that showed the seats were up to 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit cooler in direct sunlight compared to the same seats without the coating.
Being a convertible Mercedes, it has the usual party tricks to make your journey more comfortable with the top down. The standard Airscarf vent embedded into the front headrests blows hot air to keep your neck warm on a cold or windy day. The CLE Cabriolet also has an electrically deployable Aircap system, which is marketing jargon for a wind deflector above the windshield to reroute the air above the occupants' heads. In addition, there's an automatic wind deflector behind the rear seats to diminish turbulence.
Then there's the top. Mercedes will be selling the CLE Cabriolet with a black, red, or grey fabric roof. The multi-layer acoustic soft top needs 20 seconds to go up or down during a procedure that can be done while the car is traveling at speeds of up to 37 mph. As standard, the car gets a powered roller divider to separate the folded fabric top from the luggage area.
It comes as somewhat of a surprise the new CLE Cabriolet will be available with a diesel engine. The 220d model uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot featuring a mild-hybrid setup. The gasoline-fueled 200, 200 4Matic, and 300 4Matic also have 48V tech to cut fuel consumption and emissions.
Go for the diesel and the Mercedes CLE 220d Cabriolet will offer 194 hp and 440 Newton-meters (325 pound-feet) of torque. The 200 models has 201 hp and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft). The CLE 300 4Matic has 255 hp and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) In all instances, that e-motor is good for a temporary boost of 23 hp and 205 Nm (151 lb-ft).
A beefier CLE 450 4Matic Convertible upgrades you to a larger inline-six 3.0-liter gasoline engine, also with mild-hybrid baked in. Customers are rewarded with 375 hp and 369 lb-ft, enough for a 0 to 62 mph sprint in 4.7 seconds and a top speed limited to 155 mph. Spy shots have revealed that Mercedes also intends to sell an AMG CLE 53 Convertible, which should echo the coupe with 443 hp.
The CLE Cabriolet has yet to be announced for the United States. At home in Germany, the stylish cabrio retails from €66,402, rising to €88,357 for the six-cylinder model.