It was only a week ago that we made a joke about how carmakers now have a variant for every segment, plus everything in between too. But now it seems that there’s at least one carmaker that agrees with us, and that’s Mercedes-Benz.
In an effort to trim down its constantly-expanding line-up that currently has around 50 distinct models, the German carmaker is set to unveil a new mid-size convertible called the CLE-Class, which will become the catch-all car for the small and mid-size premium convertible market, as reported by AutoExpress.
The new CLE-Class will essentially replace the current C- and E-Class coupes and cabriolets, which have all been competing against each other alongside the recently-axed SLC roadster in the same market segment that already isn’t a big money-maker for the brand.
Nontheless, Mercedes still considers it an important segment to compete in, especially for branding purposes. Mercedes-Benz’s Head of R&D, Marcus Schafer stated earlier this year, “We want to focus on these models. 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 coupe and cabriolet side in this mid-segment but it’s going to take a little bit more time before we can speak about it,” he added, referring to the CLE that’s rumoured to arrive in 2023.
But even before the CLE-Class, Mercedes-Benz is set to launch an all-new SL roadster taking up the full-sized cabriolet segment, while the former slots in underneath it for the mid-size market. The sportier SL will be built on a new AMG-built platform, while the CLE will most likely be based on the MRA-2 platform shared with the latest C-Class and S-class models.
No other technical information has been shared regarding the CLE, though with the current C-Class being a four-cylinder-only affair (including the upcoming C 63, which will likely feature an electrified 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder mill), it’s likely that the new coupes and cabrios will also go the same way.
Although, the MRA-2 platform does have the flexibility to support six-cylinder engines too as seen on the S-Class, so Mercedes-Benz could easily offer a range-topping performance variant of the CLE, if they see the market demand for it.
As for looks, the all-new Mercedes-Benz CLE-Class will feature its own distinctive design, much like how the BMW 4 Series distances itself from the 3-er it’s based on. Spy shots shared by AutoExpress shows a two-door, four-seat CLE-Class convertible with a soft top roof prototype already undergoing testing, though hardtop coupe is expected to be offered as well.