Published On: Sun, Apr 21st, 2024

I drove new Mercedes CLE Cabriolet with tech that beats the UK weather

The summer sunshine is finally on its way and, right on cue, Mercedes is launching a new soft-top called the CLE Cabriolet. With both the C-Class and the E-Class convertibles being removed from the Mercedes line-up, the latest CLE slots perfectly into the gap. Having witnessed swarms of sunburned Brits gathering around it on a recent test drive in Tenerife we can confirm that it’s an unquestionable crowd-pleaser.

A sleek design, plush interior and roof that disappears in a flash all add to the appeal and there’s plenty of tech inside to make sure even owners in Britain will get the most out of it.

When the weather lets us all down again, this luxury four-seater will still offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy some roof-free cruising. Mercedes has packed its new Cabriolet full of gadgets as standard to make driving throughout the year a lot more comfortable.

A tap of a button instantly releases the AIRCAP deflector which has now been refined – thanks to hours in a wind tunnel – to make sure the wind goes over your head rather than ruining your expensive cut and blow dry. It’s like a little spoiler which pops up above the windscreen to move the air away from passengers and reduce the breeze inside the cabin.

Then there’s the clever AIRSCARF heating system which is tucked in the headrest. This makes sure your neck and shoulders stay toasty even when driving on the coldest of days.

Having put these comfort features through their paces there’s no question that the CLE Cabriolet is a very nice place to be. Even at high speeds, your head isn’t battered by the wind and the heat around the top of your body is like a warm cuddle from your mum.

If the mercury does head into the red you don’t need to worry about getting a burnt bottom. Clever leather seats (an optional extra) come with a special coating which reflects the sun’s rays. As a result, Mercedes is promising that this material remains up to 12 degrees cooler in direct sunlight than untreated standard leather. There are some other nice features coming to this car including a fabric roof that gets improved insulation.

Should you be enjoying some sunshine – and the usual UK rain starts – things can be opened and closed in just 20 seconds, even when travelling at speeds of over 30mph.

Inside the cabin, there are bright and crystal clear displays which include a 12.3-inch instrument panel along with a main 11.9-inch driver-oriented central display. To help reduce glare when the roof is down, this display can be tilted, via the touch of a button on the dashboard, from 15 to 40 degrees. Along with showing all the usual data such as SAT NAV directions and radio, you can also use this panel to keep up with the latest TIKTOK videos and even make Zoom calls to the office.

Coloured ambient lighting adds a bit of bling when driving at night and you get the usual luxury features such as automatic powered seats, head-up display and booming stereo system. It’s all very refined inside and things look just as good on the outside thanks to the usual Mercedes styling. The rear of the CLE is particularly pleasing with sweeping lights and clean lines making this car very nice to be behind.

When it comes to performance and handling the CLE Cabriolet is responsive, nimble and a lot of fun to drive.

Thanks to its sports suspension it takes the tightest of turns in its stride whilst being incredibly comfortable to ride in.

There are a number of engine options to choose from including four-cylinder petrol, six-cylinder petrol and four-cylinder diesel engines. All engines are paired with the latest-generation nine-speed automatic transmission and 48-volt mild hybrid technology, as well as DYNAMIC SELECT with a choice of drive modes.

The base model will take around 8 seconds to hit 62mph from a standstill so this is not the fastest of cars. We did also find a slight delay when putting the power down – which isn’t ideal when trying to overtake – although this is improved when switching modes to Sport.

The beefier CLE 450 4MATIC version reduces 0-62 acceleration to just 4.7 seconds but that model will also cost you almost £20,000 more.

Overall there’s very little not to like about the CLE Cabriolet and it’s definitely one to watch out for if you want a four seater convertible.

It’s lovely to drive, a joy to be driven in and no matter how rubbish our weather gets you should always be able to enjoy some open-air motoring.

Prices start from £52,995 and it’s available to order now.

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