The current Mercedes-Benz CLK is something of an enigma - built around the C-Class platform, styled like the E-Class, and priced in between the two, the car sits in its own unique segment and has no direct competition from its German rivals. Its sales history has been a strong success, especially in the U.S., but reports are surfacing that the German carmaker is planning to end the CLK name and instead brand its successor as an ‘E-Class’ Coupe and Convertible.
This latest spy shots reveal the car with a new glass roof and almost no camouflage save for some mild cover on the front and rear fascias. Because previous spy photos were nearly as bare, the latest shots reveal little in the way of new information but it does show the car's lines uninterrupted and unmarred.
In the press release for the ConceptFASCINATION Mercedes-Benz states that its designers are working on a ‘future E-Class Coupe.’ This goes towards explaining why Mercedes would drop such an important nameplate - the main reason is that the car’s successor will be based on the same platform that will underpin the next-generation E-Class due this year.
Meanwhile, near production-ready test mules for the E-Class Coupe and Cabrio have also been spotted near Mercedes headquarters in Germany and give us a clue as to what the final car will look like. As expected, the car draws heavily from the recent ConceptFASCINATION, while in keeping with its more upmarket positioning a new folding metal roof will come standard with the Cabrio.
Powertrains should include the new 272hp (203kW) 3.5L V6 engine as well as Mercedes’ 5.5L V8 for the E500 Coupe flagship. An even more powerful AMG version is guaranteed; sporting a 481hp (359kW) version of the hand built 6.2L V8 engine. The E-Class Coupe will be offered with optional 4Matic AWD and could possibly come with a new mild-hybrid option further down the track.
The decision to move the CLK to the E-Class platform will allow Mercedes to introduce a new entry-level coupe and convertible based on the C-Class, finally providing the carmaker with a direct competitor to BMW’s popular 3-series two-door models. You can see a preview of such a car in our previous story by clicking here.
The story doesn’t end there, however, as Mercedes is also expected to launch a new ‘shooting brake’ model based on the ConceptFASCINATION. The car will be the first production model based on the new E-Class platform - in the same way that the A5 Coupe was the first iteration of Audi’s new modular platform used in the A4 and future A6 – and is first expected to appear in showrooms early this year.
The new E-Class Coupe and Cabrio are expected to make their world debut at the Geneva Motor Show later this year.