Remember the CLK-Class? Well, Mercedes-Benz may be planning a spiritual successor in the form of a new CLE-Class.

Auto Express reported on Monday that Mercedes in 2023 will introduce a CLE-Class offering coupe and convertible body styles, as a replacement for the aging two-door versions of the C-Class and E-Class.

According to the British magazine, the recently spied prototype that we reported to be for a redesigned C-Class Cabriolet is actually for the alleged CLE-Class' convertible body style. There is some substance to the claim as the prototype looked to feature a more muscular stance and slightly slimmer headlights compared to the redesigned 2022 C-Class whose underpinnings it will share.

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 also headed down this path with the aforementioned CLK-Class, which was mechanically similar to the C-Class but positioned higher.

Sales of two-door cars, especially convertibles, have been on the decline as more and more buyers turn toward crossovers. As a result, Mercedes has been cutting back on its drop-tops. The automaker has already phased out its SLK-Class and S-Class Cabriolet and will soon phase out its GT Roadster. A redesigned 2022 SL Roadster is coming to replace those high-end convertibles. If Auto Express' report proves accurate, look for the current two-door C-Class and E-Class models to be replaced by the new CLE-Class.