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New Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Cabriolet revealed with widebody and six-cylinder engine

Mercedes-AMG’s diversification continues with the new CLE 53 Cabriolet

This is the new Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Cabriolet, a mid-size four-seater convertible with some fairly serious new chassis hardware and a mild-hybrid assisted six-cylinder petrol engine. The butch design and chassis upgrades might lead you to believe that this is a full-bore BMW M4 Convertible rival, but with only 442bhp on tap that might be an unfair comparison – a more powerful ‘63’ model is still rumoured to be on its way. 

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For now, though, we’re focusing on the CLE 53 which has been revealed with many of the forthcoming CLE 63’s chassis and design upgrades, paired with a slightly more muted powertrain. In this case the engine is not a bespoke AMG unit, rather an updated version of the 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine found in the CLE 450. 

It has been fettled by AMG, though, with bespoke internals and a turbocharger running higher boost pressures. The result is a 442bhp power figure paired with 560Nm of torque, or a maximum of 600Nm for short periods on overboost. The mild-hybrid system is capable of adding an extra 22bhp and 200Nm of torque to the drivetrain, but these only assist the engine at low speeds and don’t contribute to the peak figures on paper. 

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The engine is then run through AMG’s nine-speed TCT automatic transmission that features both a torque converter and wet-clutch on take-off. Power is sent to a rear-biased all-wheel drive system that’s also able to decouple the front axle and go fully rear-wheel driven in Drift Mode. Performance is rated at 4.4 seconds to 62mph, which can be dropped to 4.2 seconds if the car is specified with the AMG Dynamic Plus package. Top speed is 155mph, or 174mph with the aforementioned pack. 

Just as with the Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 coupe, the Cabriolet runs a completely bespoke body that features significantly wider track widths. The difference is 58mm for the front and 75mm on the rear, matched to fatter wheel and tyre combos that are 19-inch as standard – 20s are optional. The brakes are also upsized to 370mm discs on the front axle and 360mm on the rear. 

All Mercedes-AMG CLE 53s run on coil spring suspension and adaptive dampers, with a unique setup for the convertible that takes into account the extra weight and compromised structural rigidity of the open-top body. Rear-wheel steering is standard across all models, and works with a bespoke AMG power steering system with three levels of assistance variable to the chosen drive mode. 

Elements specific to the Cabriolet include Merc’s clever AirScarf system integrated into the front seats, while the roof itself is an acoustically-layered fabric unit that’s able to be raised and lowered at speeds of up to 30mph. Boot volume is compromised by the roof mechanism when stowed, with the standard 385-litre boot shrinking to 295 litres. 

Visually, the CLE 53 mimics the coupe with its aggressive wheel arches and AMG-specific wheel designs. Typical of a middle-ranking ‘53’ AMG, the rear exhaust tips are round rather than trapezoidal, and when specified with the AMG Driver’s Package there’s an additional lip spoiler thrown in for good measure. 

Click here for our list of the best performance cars...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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