This combination makes for a well-proportioned cabin; front-seat passengers are wrapped in comfort, but while those in the rear (there’s only space for two) aren’t exactly squeezed for space, head space is a little tight with the roof up.

There’s a refinement to how the 300 CLE Cabriolet drives, its petrol engine having (just) enough performance that removes any unnecessary extra effort to make a mundane road interesting. By contrast, the lower-powered 200 really does struggle to get the CLE up and running, shattering the calmness as it hunts around for some much-needed power. You quickly settle into the CLE’s rhythm, letting it dictate the pace so it feels settled and calm as you soak up the scenery. 

There’s a Sport mode should you wish to dial up the performance, but the reality is that it takes away from the CLE Cabriolet’s comfort-oriented USP rather than adding anything meaningful to the driving experience. The nine-speed auto hangs on to gears for longer, but this amplifies the engine’s harsh tone the higher up the rev range you go. 

Just as the engine isn’t at its best when driven hard and pushed beyond its comfort zone, neither is the chassis. It rides with a high degree of comfort, dealing with surface imperfections smartly and smothering all but the worst to prevent any interference filtering through to the cabin; the days of a wobbly convertible are long behind us.

This inherent chassis stiffness underpins the CLE’s handling, with enough body roll to let you know how the car’s reacting to any steering input but without any dramatic lurch to make you wish you’d curbed your enthusiasm. The body remains flat and calm unless you’re heavy handed; then it begins to squirm and the tyre squeal, but ultimately it’s a car to enjoy your surroundings from, luxuriating in its interior rather than hunting down its ultimate dynamic edge. So why, you may ask, have they installed such a complex variable four-wheel drive system? North American markets insist on it. 

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