First static comparison: Mercedes CLE Coupe vs BMW 4 Series Coupe

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The Mercedes CLE Coupe replaced both the Mercedes C-Class Coupe and E-Class Coupe, but its dimensions are quite close to the C-Class Coupe. That’s why the Mercedes CLE Coupe has a direct rival in the BMW 4 Series Coupe.

BMW hasn’t had a 6 Series Coupe for a few years now, its place being taken by the 8 Series Coupe. Thus, in the mid-size and business class segment, BMW has only one coupe, the BMW 4 Series Coupe.
Mercedes has decided to follow the same strategy and merge two classes into one. Thus, the Mercedes CLE replaced both the C-Class Coupe and the E-Class Coupe.

The new Mercedes CLE Coupe measures 4,850 mm long, 1,860 mm wide, and 1,428 mm high and is 82 mm longer, 8 mm wider, and 38 mm taller than the BMW 4 Series Coupe. The 2,865 mm wheelbase is 14 mm longer than the 4 Series Coupe.

So, although theoretically the Mercedes CLE is placed between the mid-size and business classes, and the 4 Series Coupe is a mid-size coupe, it is expected that the interior space is comparable as the wheelbase difference between the two models is only 14 mm. In contrast, the BMW has a 20-liter larger boot, at 440 litres compared to 420 litres in the CLE Coupe.

Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe

Wider engine range in the BMW 4 Series

At the start of sales, the Mercedes CLE Coupe is available with a 4-cylinder diesel (CLE 220d rear-wheel drive only), two 4-cylinder petrol engines (CLE 200/200 4Matic and CLE 300 4Matic), and a 6-cylinder inline (CLE 450 4Matic). All engines are mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and have a 48V mild hybrid system.

By comparison, the BMW 4 Series offers in addition to the base 4-cylinder diesel (420d) and two 4-cylinder petrol engines (420i, 430i, both rear-wheel drive), two very powerful 6-cylinder diesel engines (430d xDrive and M440d xDrive) and a 6-cylinder petrol engine with rear- or all-wheel drive (M440i/440i xDrive). All BMW engines are mated as standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission with gearshift paddles on the steering wheel and a new selector lever.

The base Mercedes CLE 200 version can also be ordered with all-wheel drive, an option not available on the BMW 420i. Also, the BMW 430i is only offered with rear-wheel drive while the Mercedes CLE 300 4Matic has all-wheel drive as standard. The BMW M440i can be ordered with rear or all-wheel drive while the Mercedes CLE 450 4Matic has the inline 6-cylinder engine paired with all-wheel drive as standard.

For now, the Mercedes CLE Coupe doesn’t have an AMG version but this will be available in the future. The powertrain will probably be borrowed from the AMG C-Class which can be ordered with the AMG C 43 and AMG C 63 S E Performance versions. Instead the BMW 4 Series Coupe can also be configured as an M version: M4/M4 xDrive with 510 hp and rear- or all-wheel drive.

BMW 4 Serie Coupe

Here’s the list of engines.

BMW 4 Serie Coupe Mercedes CLE Coupe
Petrol engines
420i 184 PS/300 Nm CLE 200 204 PS/320 Nm
CLE 200 4Matic 204 PS/320 Nm
430i 245 PS/400 NmCLE 300 4Matic 258 PS/400 Nm
M440i 374 PS/500 Nm
M440i xDrive 374 PS/500 Nm CLE 450 4Matic 381 PS/500 Nm
M4 510 PS/650 Nm
M4 xDrive 510 PS/650 Nm
Diesel engines
420d 190 PS/400 Nm CLE 220d 200 PS/440 Nm
430d xDrive 286 PS/650 Nm
M440d xDrive 340 PS/700 Nm

Built on the MRA II platform, also used in the C, E, and S-Class, the CLE Coupe has a four-link front and five-link rear multilink suspension. The Mercedes CLE Coupe comes with a standard 15 mm lowered suspension compared to the C and E-Class limousines.
Optionally, a sport suspension or Dynamic Body Control package with adaptive suspension and integral steering can be configured. The steering angle of the all-wheel steering is 2.5 degrees, which reduces the turning circle by 50 cm to 11.2 meters.

With a height 57 mm lower than the 3 Series limousine, the BMW 4 Series Coupe has a 21 mm lower center of gravity than the 3 Series limousine, and the rear wheelbase is 23 mm wider. With an aluminum bonnet and front side panels and doors, the 4 Series Coupe promises a perfect 50-50% weight distribution.

Mercedes-Benz CLE Coupe

The BMW 4 Series Coupe has standard lift-related dampers suspension that is 10 mm lower (8 mm on the xDrive version) than the 3 Series sedan. Optional M Sport suspension can be ordered (standard on M440i xDrive and M440d xDrive). Also optional is the M Sport adaptive suspension.

The 4 Series Coupe does not have integral steering but is available with variable sport steering as part of the M Sport and M Sport Adaptive suspension. An M Sport differential is standard on the M 440i xDrive and M440d xDrive and optional on the 430i and 430d xDrive if M Sport or M Sport Adaptive suspension is ordered.

The dashboard layout of the Mercedes CLE is similar to the C-Class but the new coupe has richer standard equipment. The Mercedes CLE Coupe comes standard with Avantgarde Line, a 12.3-inch display for the instrument cluster, and an 11.9-inch portrait display for the multimedia system. Keyless Go and multi-contour seats with memory functions are also standard.

The BMW 4 Series Coupe gets the new BMW OS8 operating system in spring 2023 with a 12.3-inch display for the digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch display for the multimedia system. Newly developed sports seats are standard. Electrically adjustable sports seats including memory function with heating (standard in the BMW M440i xDrive Coupé and BMW M440d xDrive Coupé) can be specified as options.

BMW 4 Serie Coupe