As automakers look to become more efficient by reducing the number of platforms and sometimes the variety of models they offer, coupes and cabriolets are among the first victims, since sales of such models are always limited. Mercedes-Benz is no exception and while the Germans have axed the Coupe and Cabriolet versions of the S-Class flagship, the company is believed to have found an alternative solution for the E-Class and C-Class: the two-door versions of both models are expected to be replaced by a single newcomer named CLE, whose 2023 Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 range-topping version is portrayed in this independent rendering.
For the time being, the W213 E-Class that’s been in production since 2016 and will be retired next year, continues to offer Coupe and Cabriolet versions. Things aren’t the same with the C-Class, though. The compact executive received its fifth generation in 2021 (as a 2022 model year), but the W206 no longer offers two-door versions, only coming in sedan and wagon forms.
However, 2021 was also the year when a Mercedes-Benz cabriolet, expected to be the rumored CLE, was first spotted testing. So far, only the Cabriolet was spied, but with prototypes sporting a canvas top, the idea of a coupe-cabriolet featuring a metallic top is out of the question, which means we’re still expecting the fixed-roof model to show up.
The 2023 Mercedes CLE Coupe should look like this rendering
The elaborate rendering sitting before us, which comes from the digital artist known as 2NCS, showcases the potential CLE in Coupe form. The artist, who went to great lengths to deliver a realistic portrait, steers clear of the yet-unconfirmed CLE details, though, labeling the work as a new C-Class Coupe.
Badging aside, the machine is seen here in Mercedes-AMG 63 form. Sure, the retired C 63 and the current E 63 are both animated by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8.
However, the now-in-showrooms W206 C-Class range is powered exclusively by four-cylinder engines, with various degrees of electric assistance. And the three-pointed star has already confirmed that the C 63 versions scheduled to come out this year will be animated by a hybridized four-cylinder turbo.
The turbo-four Mercedes-AMG 63 era is nigh
As far as output is concerned, there’s nothing to worry about. Affalterbach has stated that the machines will offer at least 500 hp—the replaced V8 model used to offer 503 horses.
And with the current Mercedes-AMG A 45 S’s 416 hp (422 PS) 2.0L engine already holding the record for the world’s most powerful production four-cylinder engine, the pedigree is already there.
However, while the expected added electric torque should, at least partially, make up for the loss of four cylinders, there’s nothing that can be done in the aural department.
Mercedes-AMG V8s are among the most vocal in the world and we’re curious to see how the Germans plan to address this part of the experience. Meanwhile, prototypes of the C63 sedan and wagon have shown disappointing soundtracks that fall well below that of the A 45, so this is probably not their final form—you’ll find a spy clip from last month at the end of the story (lens tip to CarSpyMedia).
It’s worth remembering that, between 1997 and 2010, the German automaker offered two generations of the CLK, which was a C-Class-based model with E-Class styling, coming in both Coupe and Cabriolet trim. Thus, the expected 2023 Mercedes CLE should follow that template.