The previous 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 rivals. Its sales history has been a strong success, especially in the U.S., but the car is set to meet its demise with the arrival of the new E-Class Coupe and the Cabrio in the middle of next year.

Previous spy shots show a prototype for the Cabrio model testing at Germany's Nurburgring, and as expected it draws heavily from the recent ConceptFASCINATION. The car will be about 10 cm longer than the CLK Cabrio that it replaces and it sticks with a traditional folding soft top. This computer generated rendering gives a good indication as to how it will look when it makes its debut next year.

The engine lineup should mirror the Coupe, which means four, six and eight-cylinder units with outputs from 200 to 382 horsepower--the top end model being the E550.

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 automaker 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, although no official details about its release have been mentioned.