Mercedes’ performance subdivision, AMG, has set about turning the new Mercedes CLE into more of a driver’s car. The result is the Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 – on sale now from £72,990.
If you’re wondering what happened to the even hotter CLE 63, our spy shots show that it’s coming soon to top the range. For now, the CLE 53 is the most expensive and quickest CLE you can buy.
While the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 will be given the new C 63’s turbocharged four-cylinder plug-in hybrid powertrain, the CLE 53 comes with a six-cylinder petrol mild-hybrid – which is also found, in a detuned state, in the CLE 450. In the 53, an output of 443bhp is way down on the C 63’s 671bhp, but it can still sprint from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds – that’s quicker than the BMW 440i and Audi S5.
The CLE 53 is fitted with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive system with power going through a nine-speed automatic transmission, tweaked specifically for the AMG model. To ensure the AMG 53 has the stopping capability to match its power, there are bigger four-piston brake calipers up front with perforated discs. The adaptive suspension has been honed by AMG and as standard there’s rear-wheel steering to add some nimbleness.
The CLE 53 is offered in two trim levels. AMG Premium and the £78,740 AMG Night Edition Premium Plus. Given its position at the top of the CLE range, the 53 features extensive equipment even in the base AMG Premium trim. As standard there’s a host of exterior tweaks to differentiate it from the non-AMG CLE models, including an AMG-specific front grille, 20-inch alloy wheels, flared wheel arches and a set of quad-tip exhausts.
Inside you’ll notice the massive 11.9-inch portrait screen and 12.3-inch driver’s display are the same as the regular CLE, but the MBUX infotainment system adds some AMG functionality with sportier drive modes and more driving data. The customisable driver’s display can show a new ‘Supersport’ mode, placing greater focus on the tachometer. There’s also dark wood trim on the dash as standard and heated sport seats trimmed in black leather with red stitching and ‘AMG’ logos. The AMG steering wheel adds a rotary dial to switch between drive modes.
The Night Edition Premium Plus features heat-insulated tinted windows, gloss black accents on the exterior opposed to the silver trim of the AMG Premium and carbon-fibre effect trim inside with ventilated sport seats.
The 53 AMG loses a little bit of boot space compared to the non-AMG models, offering 410-litres compared to 420-litres, which we expect is down to the beefier exhaust system.