by Karl Furlong
Mercedes-AMG is currently completing development of the new CLE 63 Coupe, a high-performance model that will replace both the outgoing C63 Coupe and the larger E53 Coupe. This change has come about as Mercedes looks to streamline a bloated lineup, so the CLE 63 Coupe has the tough job of blending the sportiness of the C63 Coupe with the refined elegance of the E53 Coupe. We expect it to lean closer to the C63 Coupe in spirit, although the big change will be the likely adoption of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain from the new C63 S sedan. That means there is 671 horsepower up for grabs, so it'll have the on-paper specs to crush the BMW M4. Whether it can outgun its rival on the road remains to be seen.
A specific release date for the 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe is unknown, but it is expected to debut late in 2023 as a 2024 model. Then again, we haven't even set eyes on the final non-AMG CLE yet, so it's plausible that the CLE 63 will only be coming out in 2024 in the USA.
The outgoing AMG C63 S Coupe already cost over $80,000, so we expect the price of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe to begin at an MSRP of $85,000 at the least.
Rivals will include the BMW M4 Coupe, which costs between $77,000 and $80,940, but it can't match the power of the Merc's hybrid powertrain. The Audi RS5 at $77,900 can't be discounted, but you'll want it with the pricey $16,100 Competition package to get closer to its two German rivals.
Official images of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe's exterior remain hidden from view at this stage, with only spy shots of camouflaged test mules being seen so far. What we have is a coupe that looks like a natural replacement for the older C63, with a sporty profile and a wide, aggressive stance.
In front, the CLE 63 has all the typical AMG alterations such as the Panamericana grille and a more aggressive front bumper. The LED lighting signature in the headlights mirrors the design of the C63 sedan's. Along the sides, the model we spied had five-double-spoke wheels in black, but there should be several designs available for the production model. At the back, the four square tailpipes are right where they should be, and there is a new taillight design.
We'll only be certain of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63's selection of exterior colors closer to its launch, but the previous C63 Coupe came in mostly stealthy shades like Obsidian Black, Selenite Grey, and Cirrus Silver.
As a replacement for both the C63 and E53 coupes, it's unknown if the dimensions of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe will occupy a comfortable middle ground between those two, or if it will be closer to one than the other. Then again, there wasn't actually a huge difference in size between the C63 and E53 coupes.
The C63 Coupe had a length of 187.1 inches, a width of 73.9 inches without the mirrors, and a height of 55.2 inches. We expect the new CLE 63 Coupe to grow by an inch or two over these figures.
As far as curb weight goes, we've seen that the new C63 Sedan hybrid is heavier by over 700 pounds over its predecessor. With that in mind, we expect the CLE 63 Coupe with the same powertrain to be quite heavy at between 4,700 and 4,800 lbs.
Logic dictates that the engine in the new Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe will be the same as the one in the new C63 Sedan. That means enthusiasts will have to wave goodbye to that classic V8 soundtrack, but the new plug-in hybrid system comes with some mind-blowing specs.
The combination of an electric motor and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 671 horsepower and 752 lb-ft of torque in the C63 Sedan, including 469 hp and 402 lb-ft from the 2.0L mill alone. In the sedan, the rear motor is positioned at the back and comes with a dedicated two-speed transmission whereas the gas engine utilizes a nine-speed automatic. The turbo is also electrically assisted, a configuration that dramatically reduces lag.
In the all-wheel-drive C63 Sedan, the 0-60 mph sprint is down to just 3.3 seconds and the top speed is 174 mph when properly configured. These are the numbers we anticipate for the CLE 63 Coupe, too.
Not only will the CLE 63 be blindingly quick, but the addition of electrification will expand its range of capabilities. In the C63 Sedan, there are eight AMG driving modes, including an Electric mode with a top speed of 81 mph. Various modes will be there to adjust the damping, and kit like a limited-slip differential and rear-wheel steering should boost agility.
Whether the four-pot can get close to the irresistible driving character of the V8 is uncertain.
The C63 Sedan comes with a 6.1 kWh lithium-ion battery with a WLTP-rated all-electric range of eight miles. That's not much, but then again, the electrification applied to this sedan is aimed more at enhancing performance than improving efficiency.
Still, with an all-electric mode, four fewer cylinders, and half the engine capacity, the new CLE 63 Coupe should be more efficient than the 16/24/19 mpg city/highway/combined achieved by the older C63 S Coupe.
The interior design of the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe is expected to share much with the new C63 Sedan, although the second row will obviously be tighter and trickier to access. Previous spy shots of the non-AMG CLE (pictured below) showed off interior details like a trio of ventilation outlets above the central touchscreen, an identical look to what we've seen in the production C-Class.
The latest MBUX infotainment software will be implemented, but the graphics will be unique to the AMG model. Expect an 11.9-inch portrait-style touchscreen along with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. The technology won't merely be aimed at enhancing occupant comfort but will also allow the driver improved access to various performance functions. To that end, the AMG steering wheel should come with the AMG Drive Unit controller that will allow you to change the driving experience without taking your hands off the wheel.
Merc's usual decadent mix of fine leathers, Alcantara, and ambient lighting inside will make the interior look and feel special. As for the seats in the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe, these should be sporty buckets in front with AMG embossing, as seen in the new C63 (pictured below). An array of colors will be available for customers.
It's tough to make an accurate prediction regarding the cargo space in the new Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe. The older C63 S Coupe didn't have a rear electric motor, and even then, it only had just over 10 cubic feet of space in the trunk. Then again, the new car could end up being quite a bit larger. Either way, we expect enough space for daily needs, although luggage for four will be a squeeze.
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