Ah, Mercedes-AMG. The performance arm of the German automaker, that has, in recent years, forgotten how many doors a coupe is supposed to have. Blessed be thy car gods, that’s not the case with its latest effort. Yes, the Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 4MATIC Coupe rocks two doors and a mighty inline-six.
The inline-six is having a renaissance of late, particularly in the halls of Affalterbach. This new model boasts 449 horsepower from an upgraded version of Mercedes’ potent 3.0-liter donk. The new engine is denoted the M 256M, with revised components including the combustion chambers and piston rings. Its power figure is elevated courtesy of both a conventional exhaust-gas turbocharger as well as an additional electric compressor that feeds in yet more boost. With the electric compressor running near-continuously to provide boost at all times, the combined design meant the main turbo could be upsized for better peak performance.
You won’t be short on torque, either. The engine is capable of delivering 413 pound-feet of torque, with an overboost function that boosts that to 442 pound-feet for up to 12 seconds. Mercedes also saw fit to toss in a mild-hybrid system, with the integrated starter-generator capable of contributing 23 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque for short boosts when required.
The engine is paired with the AMG Speedshift TCT 9G automatic transmission. The coupe gets AMG’s 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system, which should prove handy for putting all that power down to the road. Notably, it’s set up so that in situations where front axle drive isn’t necessary, the front wheels can be entirely uncoupled from the drivetrain to improve efficiency. In sport modes, the system is set up for more of a rear bias, while in drift mode, it’s set up for real-wheel-drive exclusively. Mercedes-AMG claims fuel economy on the WLTP combined cycle to be on the order of 24-25 mpg. That’s not crazy good, but hey, who’s complaining with all that power on tap?
Rear steering is also standard on this model. It’s an aid both at low-speeds, such as parking, and at higher-speeds to improve handling. The rear axle offers up to 2.5 degrees of steering angle, with the rears turning the opposite direction to the front wheels at speeds under 60 mph to effectively shorten the wheel base and cut the turning circle. Above 60 mph, the wheels turn parallel to the fronts to aid stability.
Design-wise, it’s a modern AMG through and through. It’s got a bulky, chonky kind of aggression to it, like one of those veiny, muscular English bulldogs. That’s by virtue of its pumped-up stature, which is a full 2.2 inches wider at the front and 2.9 inches wider at the rear, compared to the standard Mercedes-Benz model. Don’t forget, cars have to be angry now, and the typical “Shark Nose” design fits the bill perfectly. The headlights are thusly narrowed in threatening suspicion, while the grille and vents give the vague impression of bared teeth. There’s a general sense of visual heft to the car; it’s more of a heavyweight boxer than a lithe martial artist.
Inside, you get a sleek and sporty interior and a steering wheel covered in buttons, because that’s the trend these days. The infotainment screen is neatly tilted back and blends nicely into the center console for a sleek look. Above, you get that neat triple air vent setup in the center of the dash which Mercedes-Benz has made its own in recent years. Seats are trimmed in man-made leather and black microfiber, with red contrast stitching because this is a fast car and that’s the appropriate aesthetic shorthand to indicate as such.
It’s nice to know that Mercedes-AMG hasn’t forgotten how to build a proper coupe. It’s got two doors, a nice long engine in the front with plenty of power, and a look that says “I’m too classy to punch you, but it’d be a humdinger if I did.” If you want a quick two-door sled that looks mildly intimidating for your golf trips, consider the Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupe. It ought to do the job nicely.
Image credits: Mercedes-AMG