by Karl Furlong
The upcoming Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible has big shoes to fill - and more than one pair of them. Not only will this car replace both the older C63 and E53 Convertibles, but it also has the unfortunate task of convincing diehard AMG fans that four cylinders are better than eight. Whereas the old C63 drop-top thrilled with its boisterous V8, the new CLE 63 is expected to come with a four-cylinder hybrid powertrain from the latest Mercedes-AMG C63 Sedan. With 671 combined horsepower, it will be anything but slow, but the new engine note is unlikely to have the same aural effect when you automatically drop the roof. Perhaps that's less of a problem in a convertible that must also play the role of flashy but refined boulevard cruiser. Here's what we know about the new AMG drop-top so far.
As with the coupe, we expect the release date for the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible to be later in 2023.
When it was last on sale in the USA, the V8-powered C63 drop-top cost around $90,000. The price of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible will be higher, so expect it to go for somewhere between $93,000 and $96,000 when it arrives. Options will easily push the final MSRP into six figures.
The BMW M4 Competition xDrive Convertible will be one of the Merc's main rivals and starts at $91,940. It has "only" 503 horses but will likely be lighter, as it does without the CLE 63's plug-in hybrid system.
For about $10,000 more - which isn't all that much at this price level - traditional convertible fans may prefer something like the Lexus LC Convertible. It'll be left for dead by the Germans in a straight line, but it has a glorious V8 and is superbly refined.
For now, we only have a handful of camouflaged spy shots to get an idea of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible's exterior design. Mercedes rarely misses the mark when it comes to the styling of its drop-tops - the pre-facelift SL from a few years back was one of the rare exceptions - and early signs are that the CLE 63 Convertible will be an appealing blend of smooth convertible lines and brutish AMG touches.
In front, the usual AMG addenda will include the Panamericana grille with the large central Mercedes star, along with a bolder lower bumper. Sharply-styled headlights with a new lighting signature are the same as those on the coupe. The test mule we spied was wearing ravishing wheels in a black finish, but there is no way to know for sure if these are production-spec wheels are not. From this side view, we can also see the black fabric roof; this could also be had in a red finish on the outgoing model.
At the back, the restyled light clusters are smaller than before, but the quad square tailpipes have retained their large size to serve as a visual hint of this being a powerful 63 model.
If the colors of the new Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible mirror those of the older C63, it should be available in shades like Polar White, Obsidian Black, and Cirrus Silver. A couple of exclusive Manufaktur colors are also likely to be available, but these will cost more.
We anticipate that the dimensions of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible will increase marginally compared to the older C63 Convertible. The latter had a length of 187.1 inches, a width including the mirrors of 79.4 inches, and stood 55.3 inches in height.
In the more powerful C63 S guise, the older cabriolet weighed 4,275 pounds, but a fairly substantial increase in weight is expected because of the new PHEV powertrain. In fact, the new CLE 63 Convertible could get uncomfortably close to 5,000 lbs.
It's almost guaranteed that the engine in the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible will be the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with an electric motor as found in the new C63 sedan. This four-pot makes 469 hp and 402 lb-ft of torque, but up to 671 hp/752 lb-ft when working together with the electric motor. Those figures blow the older V8 out of the water.
The C63 sedan that has already been officially revealed has a rear-mounted electric motor with its own two-speed transmission, while the four-pot uses a nine-speed automatic. Unsurprisingly, all-wheel drive is standard to manage all that power effectively.
In the CLE 63 Convertible, a similar setup should result in a 0-60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds. An electrically assisted turbocharger should mitigate any turbo lag, too, making for a very responsive driving experience. Multiple drive modes will be on offer, including an Electric-only mode.
As this will be a heavy car, rear-wheel steering is one of the features that should help to improve agility.
The CLE 63 Convertible is likely to employ the same battery specs as the C63 sedan, which means a 6.1 kWh lithium-ion setup. In the sedan, it has a WLTP-rated all-electric range of eight miles, which may actually be less in the drop-top if it ends up being heavier.
The older C63 S Convertible wasn't actually terribly inefficient considering it had a large V8, managing a decent 24 mpg on the highway. Its EPA-rated figures were 16/24/19 mpg city/highway/combined. A much smaller 2.0-liter engine in the new model could further improve on these numbers and increase the CLE 63's range.
EPA figures are only expected to be coming out around the time of the CLE 63 Convertible's on-sale date.
Once again, we can look to the fully revealed C63 sedan and spy shots of the non-AMG CLE (pictured above and below) to get an idea of what to expect here. The interior of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible will be dominated by digital displays, with an 11.9-inch central touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital driver's display presumably coming as standard. We do like that Mercedes has generally retained the traditional look of circular analog gauges, though, instead of the overstyled cluster found in the latest BMWs.
As with any new-generation Merc, the available technologies should be class-leading. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with enhanced voice controls for the MBUX system, should make interacting with the infotainment a pleasure. Augmented navigation, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system will all be available, and some of these could ship as standard.
Materials should include aluminum and carbon fiber, along with MB-Tex and possibly Alcantara for the seats in the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible.
The highlight inside the CLE 63 Convertible will, of course, be the ability to lower the roof at the touch of a button. This should be an entirely automatic process that drivers will be able to initiate while on the move at lower speeds. What we don't expect is much space in the second row, but that's the norm for most cabriolets.
Another issue for the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Convertible could be its available cargo space. Not only does this car have to accommodate a folding roof and its mechanism, but also a rear-mounted electric motor. For that reason, it may not match the 8.8 cubic feet available in the older C63 when that model's roof was up.
The most popular competitors of 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLE63 Convertible: