The convertible may be a dying breed because of dwindling demand, but Mercedes isn’t giving up. Yes, the C-Class and E-Class Convertible models have been phased out. However, they’ve been replaced with a single CLE model. Naturally, there’s an AMG version for those in need of extra performance. This new CLE 53 Cabriolet has the BMW M440i Convertible in its crosshairs.

While the C-Class models are all stuck with four-cylinder engines, the CLE 53 gets a larger inline-six engine. It’s a 3.0-liter mill with 443 hp (330 kW) and 560 Nm (413 lb-ft) of torque. An overboost function that lasts 10 seconds provides an extra 40 Nm (30 lb-ft) for a grand total of 600 Nm (443 lb-ft). Since the engine has a mild-hybrid setup, the integrated starter generator offers a brief 23 hp (17 kW) and 205 Nm (151 lb-ft).

How does it stack up against the M440i? Bavaria’s M Performance droptop must make do with 369 hp (275 kW) and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of twist. It’s 74 hp and 60 Nm (44 lb-ft) less powerful than the new AMG CLE 53. Of course, BMW also offers a full-fat M4 Convertible with more punch than the AMG, but the latter is expected to launch a hotter CLE 63 with extra oomph.

As far as performance is concerned, the three-pointed star touts a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.4 seconds. With launch control and overboost, the sprint time drops to 4.2s. BMW’s M440i Convertible is substantially slower, taking 4.9 seconds. Both are electronically capped at 155 mph (250 km/h). However, the AMG CLE 53 can be optionally ordered with a raised top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h).

Just like the BMW, the new droptop from Affalterbach is an all-wheel-drive- and automatic-only affair. It too gets an electrically retractable folding fabric roof. The soft top takes up to 20 seconds to go up or down and can be operated at speeds below 37 mph (60 km/h). Convertibles are not the most practical cars, but Mercedes says you still have 285 liters of cargo volume when the roof is down and 375 liters when it’s up.

The stylish performance convertible with quad exhausts from AMG comes loaded from the factory. Even the base model gets neck-level heating (AIRSCARF) and a wind deflector (AIRCAP). To sweeten the pot, Mercedes throws in an electric luggage compartment separator and memory seats. While 19-inch wheels are standard, customers can splurge on a 20-inch set.

Akin to BMW, Mercedes has largely moved away from conventional controls. Instead, there’s an 11.9-inch portrait touchscreen that tilts from 15 to 40 degrees. It’s joined by a tablet-like digital instrument cluster measuring 12.3 inches. We’re being told the seats benefit from special coating to remain cool even on a hot summer’s day.

The AMG CLE 53 Cabriolet will go on sale later this year to fight BMW’s recently updated M440i Convertible.

Source: Mercedes-AMG