Mercedes-Benz is trimming some of its lower-volume models, and part of that will reportedly involve merging the C-Class and E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet ranges.

    Auto Express reports the brand will debut a new model called the CLE in 2023.

    Our spy photographers have previously captured what we believed to be a new-generation C-Class Cabriolet, but which could be the new CLE.

    It’ll reportedly initially be available only as a two-door convertible, with a two-door coupe set to follow.

    There won’t, however, be a four-door coupe or five-door liftback – like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe or Audi A5 Sportback – to slot in between the CLA and CLS.

    It’s likely the CLE will use the new MRA-2 architecture and feature a range of electrified four-cylinder powertrains, as with the redesigned C-Class.

    It could, however, feature six-cylinder powertrains like the E-Class as a way to elevate it above the C-Class.

    Whether the range will include the upcoming AMG C63’s high-performance hybrid four-cylinder powertrain isn’t clear.

    Mercedes-Benz research and development head, Marcus Schafer, told Auto Express it effectively had three convertibles – the SLC and C-Class and E-Class Cabriolets – occupying a part of the market that isn’t particularly profitable.

    He conceded, however, that it’s important for a luxury car brand to continue to offer coupe and convertible models.

    “We want to focus on these models,” said Schafer. “They have their niche and their purpose. That’s why we are going to tailor exactly the right vehicle in this segment. There’s more to come on the coupé and cabriolet side in this mid-segment but it’s going to take a little bit more time before we can speak about it.”

    As Mercedes-Benz expands its range of electric vehicles to include models like the EQE and EQS built on a dedicated EV architecture, it’s cognisant its model range can’t get too large and unwieldy.

    The low-volume SLC has already been axed and no coupe or convertible versions of the redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class have been announced.

    Mercedes-AMG is developing the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SL and Mercedes-AMG GT alongside each other, with the latter expected to lose its droptop body style to make way for the reborn SL.

    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’s platform but with E-Class styling cues, and was available with a range of engines ranging from four to eight-cylinder configurations.

    It was replaced by the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet, which continued to use C-Class mechanicals but was quickly joined by a C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet.

    In 2017, Mercedes-Benz finally returned an E-Class-based coupe and convertible to the E-Class line, while the C-Class range continued to offer two-door variants.

    MORE: Mercedes-Benz C-Class news, reviews, comparisons and videos
    MORE: Mercedes-Benz E-Class news, reviews, comparisons and videos

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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