Mercedes is simplifying its lineup by replacing the old C-Class and current E-Class Coupes with one two-door model that will wear the CLE badge and offer sleeker styling for Benz buyers who want something a little different from an ordinary sedan. But it looks like the differences don’t extend to the interior.
Our spy photographers snapped the still-disguised CLE out testing in Germany again, but this time they also managed to grab some shots of the interior. And those photos suggest that from the driver’s seat there’ll be little to distinguish the coupe from the sedan.
The dashboard, twin digital screen setup, and air vents appear to have been carried straight across without significant changes. That might be slightly disappointing if the C-Class sedan’s interior wasn’t so stylish. Unlike rival BMW’s latest dashboards, which merge the digital instrument cluster with the main console touchscreen to create one huge rectangular digital display, Merc’s design team opted to keep the two separate.
And rather than mount the touchscreen high up on the dash, they located it lower down on the console below the central air vents so that the virtual buttons for functions would be in the same place physical buttons used to be.
The CLE’s chassis and powertrains will also mirror those of the sedan, and, depending on the market, could range from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine developing 255 hp (190 kW / 258 PS) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque in base versions to 402 hp (300 kW / 408 PS) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) for the C43 with its electric-turbo four-cylinder engine. There’ll also be a C63 that’ll use the same powertrain as the C63 sedan Mercedes is currently teasing ahead of this week’s launch. But don’t go getting your hopes up for a V8: even the C63 has downsized to a 2.0-liter turbo four for this generation.
Where the CLE will differ from the C-Class sedan is, of course, in the way it looks on the outside. The CLE coupe pictured here, and the CLE cabriolet will feature two doors with frameless glass and a lower roofline than the sedan. And judging from these spy shots they’ll also get a set of door mirrors that makes it look like someone has rammed an inverted golf club through each doorskin.
Do you think Mercedes should have tried harder to differentiate the interior of the CLE from the C-Class sedan? Let us know by leaving a comment below.