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New Mercedes CLE Cabriolet goes on sale in the UK: summer starts here!

The drop-top executive arrives with diesel and petrol power

By launching the new CLE, Mercedes has actually shrunk its range because the car is designed as a replacement for the two-door versions of the old C-Class and E-Class. We’ve seen and driven the new CLE in hard-top coupe form and now Mercedes has opened orders for the CLE cabriolet too.

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Starting at £52,995, the cabriolet is £6,390 more expensive than the equivalent, entry-level CLE coupe. Just like the newly-facelifted BMW 4 Series Convertible and the recently canned Audi A5 Cabriolet, the CLE Cabriolet comes with a fabric roof rather than a folding metal arrangement.  

The roof is available in black, red or grey as a no-cost option and they come with a “multi-layer structure” to provide insulation and keep wind and road noise at bay. The electrically-operated roof can open and close within 20 seconds (two seconds slower than the one on the BMW 4 Series), although it can be operated at speeds up to 37mph (6mph more than on the BMW).

Every version of the CLE cabriolet comes with a 12.3-inch driver’s display and an 11.9-inch central touchscreen. The central screen can be tilted from 15 to 40 degrees to avoid glare from the sun - just like the latest SL

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The coupe was originally offered in non-AMG form upon launch, with hot AMG models arriving later. It’s the same story with the cabriolet, although there’s still quite a bit of choice between trim levels and engines. Kicking off is the 200 with a 2.0-litre petrol mild-hybrid with 201bhp and 320Nm of torque for a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds. The diesel 220d starts from £55,060 and has a 2.0-litre diesel mild-hybrid with 194bhp and 320Nm of torque for an identical 0-62mph time to the cheapest petrol model.

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The CLE 300 starts at £59,745 and brings 4MATIC four-wheel drive instead of the standard rear-wheel drive. It has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with mild-hybrid assistance, but power is bumped up to 255bhp and 400Nm of torque, dropping the 0-62mph time to 6.6 seconds. Above this is the £70,265 CLE 450 4MATIC with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol with 375bhp and 500Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds.

The CLE Cabriolet’s trim level structure mirrors the coupe’s. AMG Line line models get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a reversing camera, wireless smartphone charging, keyless start, heated front seats and adaptive headlights. There’s also an AMG bodykit with 18-inch alloy wheels.

The AMG Line Premium trim level is offered with every powertrain (standard on 450 models) and gets sport suspension, 19-inch wheels, a ‘sporty’ engine sound, larger front brakes, ‘digital headlights’ and Mercedes’ MBUX augmented reality.

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The AMG Line Premium Plus comes with 20-inch diamond-cut wheels, a 360-degree camera, climate-controlled seats and black open-pore wood trim.

The top-spec Premier Edition comes with a ‘Night package’, adding gloss black exterior trim throughout the exterior, 19-inch wheels which can be upped to 20-inch for no cost, and an exclusive pattern to the grille. It’s also the only model to get a heated steering wheel as standard, Nappa leather and a carbon fibre trim to the interior.

Mercedes also says the CLE Cabriolet offers “open-air fun any time of year”. The optional leather seats (available in black, beige and black, brown and black, red and black or white and black) have a “special coating” to reflect the sun’s rays and remain cooler than standard leather seats. Perhaps more importantly for UK customers, the CLE Cabriolet gets the Mercedes ‘Airscarf’ heating system as standard. The ‘Airscarf’ was first introduced on the 2004 SLK and sends warm air around the necks of the front seat occupants. In the CLE Cabriolet, it works in conjunction with the ‘Aircap’ wind deflector.

With the folding roof, boot space is less than the coupe’s 420-litre capacity, at 385 litres - which drops further to 295 litres when the roof is down. Compared to the old C-Class Cabriolet, the new CLE soft-top has an extra 72mm of kneeroom and 19mm more elbow room for rear passengers.

Now check out our list of the best convertibles and cabriolets to buy here...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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