Mercedes-Benz has been pruning back its coupe and convertible offerings in recent years, and the process extends to the two-door C-Class and E-Class models that are in the process of bring replaced by a new model called the CLE-Class, which arrives in the U.S. early next year as a 2024 model.
Our latest spy shots show a prototype for the CLE-Class Cabriolet, in sporty AMG guise.
The prototype is likely for a CLE 63 S E Performance Cabriolet, a new range-topping grade from AMG that packs plug-in hybrid power. We know the prototype is for a range-topping AMG because of its square-shaped exhaust tips. Lesser AMG models use round tips. Other AMG cues include the large wheel and brake combo, large air openings up front, and lowered suspension.
Under the hood should be the same turbo-4-based plug-in hybrid powertrain that features in the 2024 C 63 S E Performance sedan and upcoming 2025 GLC 63 S E Performance crossover. The turbo-4 is an upgraded version of the 2.0-liter engine found in AMG's current crop of compact cars. Thanks to the addition of an electric-aided turbocharger, output from the engine is boosted to 469 hp. It also has an electric motor integrated with the engine in mild-hybrid configuration to power ancillary features, as well as serve as a starter motor.
Mercedes-AMG E Performance
On top of all this, there is a much more powerful motor (up to 201 hp) at the rear axle, which means combined output can be bumped up to 671 hp for brief stints. This rear motor is mated to its own 2-speed transmission. A 6.1-kwh battery ensures a small electric range is possible.
AMG also plans a tamer CLE that could be badged a 43 or 53. If it's the former, the powertrain should be the same setup introduced in the 2023 C 43 sedan. The setup consists of a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that generates 402 hp on its own, plus a mild-hybrid system that's able to deliver a temporary 14-hp boost.
An alternative could be AMG launching a CLE 53 with the same plug-in hybrid powertrain destined for the recently revealed 2026 GLE 53 Hybrid (and likely the next E 53). This powertrain combines a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with an electric motor for a combined 536 hp.
Look for AMG's versions of the CLE-Class to debut around next spring with sales to follow later next year.