The new Mercedes CLE will replace the coupe and convertible versions of the C-Class and E-Class.
With sales declining, Mercedes decided to ax the C-Class Convertible and Coupe and E-Class Convertible and Coupe for the new generation. As a result, the new C-Class and E-Class are only being sold as sedans in the US. The S-Class Convertible and AMG Roadster have also been discontinued to be replaced with the all-new SL.
To fill the void, Mercedes is reportedly developing an all-new model called the CLE that will replace the C-Class and E-Class Convertible and Coupe. This will still allow Mercedes to compete with the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 while simplifying its model lineup by reducing the number of coupes and convertibles it sells. Mercedes simply can't afford to let its chief rivals dominate the luxury coupe and convertible segments.
During a Nurburgring track testing session, our spies spotted Mercedes testing a prototype of the new CLE. In terms of dimensions, the CLE slots in between the C-Class and E-Class. The prototype takes the form of a cabriolet, but a coupe will also enter production.
We also won't be surprised if Mercedes introduces a four-door coupe version of the CLE to take on the BMW 4 Series Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback. Unfortunately, the prototype hasn't dropped any more camouflage since our last sighting in the summer, but this is the first time the CLE has been caught stretching its legs on the Nurburgring.
Under the skin, the CLE will ride on the same MRA-2 platform as the new C-Class. As a result, it will share the same engine options as the C-Class, including a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine rated at 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
With the prototype still fully camouflaged, it's difficult to make out the design details, especially as the headlights and taillights are still placeholders. To distinguish it from the regular C-Class, the CLE will have a unique front fascia with slimmer headlights and a sportier stance. The new Mercedes CLE convertible and coupe will likely debut next year and go on sale as 2023 models.