Recently, Mercedes has taken a two-pronged approach for its most powerful AMG-branded models. While relying on plug-in hybrid power in both cases, more compact saloons, coupes and SUVs are equipped with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, while flagships and supercars are powered by an electrified 4.0-litre V8.

If the latter decision was 'digested' by the brand's enthusiasts as a whole, the former has raised some doubts, especially in certain markets. One example is China, where many customers - by Mercedes' own admission - do not seem to have appreciated the four-cylinder 2.0 plug-in hybrid. Thus, the German manufacturer is preparing for a U-turn.

Goodbye plug-in hybrid

This rumour was reported by Autocar, which speaks of a general 'dissatisfaction' at Mercedes with the sales of AMG models with the 2.0 plug-in hybrid compared to previous generations equipped with the V8.

Spy photos - Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupé at the Nurburgring

Mercedes CLE 63 AMG, spy photos

For this reason, the brand will already change things up with the CLE 63 AMG. Originally planned with four cylinders, this version will adopt a 4.0-litre V8 mild hybrid with at least 585 PS.

These variants will be positioned above the CLE 53 Coupé and Cabriolet, both of which are powered by a 3-litre six-cylinder turbo petrol engine producing 449 PS. 

Evaluation time

In addition, Autocar sources inside Mercedes say that the decision to equip the CLE with a V8 engine is also linked to feedback from the global dealer network. Indeed, dealers had suggested that the adoption of a four-cylinder for the top-of-the-range CLE would be confusing for potential customers, given the presence of the six-cylinder CLE 53 AMG mentioned above. 

Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Cabriolet (2024)

Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Cabriolet (2024)

Markus Schäfer, head of research and development operations at Mercedes, said that the brand is also closely monitoring sales of the C 63 AMG and GLC 63 AMG, following calls for a return to the V8 also from Chinese customers. 

In this regard, Schäfer admitted that in conversations with several Asian customers, they were not very enthusiastic about the type of engine chosen for the C 63. Mercedes is therefore apparently preparing to revise its strategy for AMG models.

Gallery: Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe New Spy Photos

Source: SH Proshots