Mercedes-Benz redesigned its C-Class for the 2022 model year, but so far we've only been treated to the sedan and wagon.
Our latest spy shots show a redesigned version of the C-Class Cabriolet, though we've heard that the new convertible—and likely any new coupe—will be rebranded a CLE-Class to reflect a higher positioning in the Mercedes lineup.
This way, the CLE-Class can fill in for both the C-Class and E-Class convertibles. Sales of convertibles have been on the decline as more and more buyers turn toward crossovers, and as a result Mercedes has been cutting back on its drop-tops.
The automaker has already phased out its SLK-Class, S-Class Cabriolet, and AMG GT Roadster, with the redesigned 2022 AMG SL now the sole option in the upper segment. Look for this CLE-Class to fill in at the more affordable end of the lineup.
It's a strategy similar to what Audi and BMW used for convertible versions of their respective A4 and 3-Series. Recall, the respective predecessors to the A5 Cabriolet and 4-Series Convertible were the A4 Cabriolet and 3-Series Convertible. Mercedes has also been down this path with its original CLK-Class, which was mechanically similar to the C-Class but positioned higher.
2023 Mercedes-Benz CLE-Class Cabriolet spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
There is some substance to the rumors as the prototype looks to feature a more muscular stance and slightly slimmer headlights compared to the redesigned C-Class, whose underpinnings it will share.
Expect the interior to be similar in design to the C-Class, meaning buyers should be treated with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 11.9-inch (with portrait layout) infotainment screen as standard.
Powertrains should also be a match. The C-Class is available in the U.S. in C300 guise only at present. Powering the C300 is a 2.0-liter engine that makes 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, plus a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that adds another 20 hp and 148 lb-ft for short blasts. More options are coming, including hot C 53 and C 63 models from AMG.
As for the roof, Mercedes looks to be going with a soft-top design, just like on the SL, though the automaker has heavily camouflaged it so we can't see the true shape.
A reveal should happen late this year or early next. A coupe should also be coming.