The imminent demise of the two-door Mercedes-Benz C-Class will also spell the end of the hot C63 AMG coupe and convertible, but fear not: a replacement is coming.
Believed to be launching under the CLE nameplate and replacing two-door versions of the C-Class and E-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s new coupe and convertible range looks set to be topped with an AMG 63 variant.
The prototype spied here appears to be production-ready, if still covered in camouflage, pointing to a potential reveal next year.
It also features the squared-off quad exhaust outlets seen on AMG 63 models, and appears to have bigger brakes and a wider track compared with previously spied prototypes.
Up front we can spy a more aggressive front bumper and AMG’s Panamericana grille, while down back a charger port can be found on the right-hand side of the bumper.
The presence of a charge port suggests the Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 – if it’s called that – will share its powertrain with the new C63. The CLE is expected to share the C-Class’ MRA2 architecture.
Despite losing four cylinders, the new C63 will be the most powerful C63 ever made.
It pairs a 350kW/545Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, known as the M139, with a nine-speed multi-clutch transmission, a 150kW rear axle electric motor with a two-speed transmission and limited-slip differential unit, and a 6.1kWh battery.
All up, system outputs are 500kW of power and 1020Nm of torque, with a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds and 13km of pure EV range.
Kerb weight is 2111kg, or around 300kg more than the old twin-turbocharged V8 C63.
The new C63 features all-wheel drive, as well as rear-wheel steering that allows the rear wheels to steer up to 2.5 degrees in the opposite direction to the fronts at speeds of up to 100km/h.
Over that speed, the wheels will steer up to 0.7 degrees in the same direction as the fronts to help with high-speed stability.
Previous reports have indicated Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want to leave the luxury coupe and convertible market, but is consolidating its offerings. The latest S-Class, for example, won’t be offered in two-door guise, and the SLC has been axed.
Mercedes-Benz research and development head, Marcus Schafer, recently told Auto Express it effectively had three convertibles – the SLC, and the C-Class and E-Class Cabriolets – occupying a part of the market that isn’t particularly profitable.
He conceded, however, it’s important for a luxury car brand to continue to offer coupe and convertible models.
As Mercedes-Benz expands its range of electric vehicles (EVs) to include models like the EQE and EQS built on a dedicated EV architecture, it’s aware its model line-up can’t get too large and unwieldy.
Merging the two-door C-Class and E-Class ranges is reminiscent of the days of the CLK.
Sold for two generations from 1997 to 2010, the CLK used the C-Class’ platform but with E-Class styling cues, and was available with a range of engines ranging from four- to eight-cylinder configurations.
In 2017, Mercedes-Benz finally returned a coupe and convertible to the E-Class line-up. These have been sold concurrently with the C-Class coupe and convertible.