Mercedes-Benz is working on a replacement for the current-generation CLS four-door coupe, but isn’t quite ready to shed the existing body just yet.

    The three-pointed star has been spied conducting initial testing of a new-generation CLS in the snow wearing the body of a current-generation car as disguise. The next-generation car may be rebranded a CLE in keeping with what we’re expecting of Mercedes’ convertible range.

    Looking at the spy photos, the only things that point to this vehicle being a prototype are the flared wheel arches and the black, generic alloy wheels that are common among many prototype vehicles.

    Apart from those two things the spied prototype doesn’t have any camouflage. We don’t get a clear shot of the interior though.

    Our spy photographers expect to see full-body prototypes by the European summer (June to August) 2022.

    It’s unclear at this stage but the next-generation CLS four-door coupe could be renamed to fall under the CLE nameplate. It’d join the two-door coupe and convertible models in that particular line-up.

    This naming convention would make a lot of sense because the CLS was never really an ‘S’ model, as it has historically been based on the E-Class.

    Expected to follow the tradition, this next-generation CLS could be based on the new E-Class, which has recently been spied.

    It’s unclear if the next-generation CLS will follow the smaller C-Class and only be available with electrified four-cylinder turbo powertrains.

    Currently, the Mercedes-Benz CLS is only available in range-topping AMG CLS 53 guise which is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder petrol engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system producing 320kW of power and 520Nm of torque.

    This third-generation CLS was introduced locally in June 2018 and it received an extremely minor facelift in the fourth quarter of 2021.

    In 2021, Mercedes-Benz sold a total of 30 CLS models. It was outsold by the likes of the Audi A7 (100 sales), BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe (42 sales), and the Porsche Panamera (48 sales).

    Mercedes-Benz has been doubling down on its electric vehicles recently with the launch of both the EQE and AMG EQE sedans, as well as the EQS and AMG EQS lift backs. It’s also gearing up to reveal the EQS and EQE SUVs.

    The German automaker announced in July 2021 it’s also going to be all-electric by 2030 where market conditions allow. The automaker is spending €40 billion ($58.74 billion) on electric vehicle (EV) technology, platforms and vehicle development.

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    MORE: Everything Mercedes-Benz CLS

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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