Mercedes-Benz will be filling in the space that will be left by the outgoing CLS four-door coupé with two new models, with the first, the next-generation CLS, set to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, according to Auto Express. The new car will be focused even more on outright style, with Mercedes pursuing a more avant-garde approach to its design.

Stuttgart is able to push the CLS further in that direction because a sedan version of the AMG GT, previewed by the AMG GT Concept and expected to go on sale in 2019 badged as the GT4, will complement the next CLS in a market space above the E-Class. That car will instead be developed as a more performance-oriented offering.

“The CLS is for James Bond, and the GT Concept is for Jason Bourne,” said chief design officer Gorden Wagener at last month’s New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). “That describes the different approaches to those vehicles.”

Wagener explained that the CLS will feature a more minimalist look compared to the rather ornate second-generation model, whereas the AMG GT sedan will be positioned as a sportier, driver-focused model. “The GT Concept is more of a four-door race car; for me the CLS is more the stylish car, the designer car – the design icon.

“The next generation will be even more. It’ll be a completely reduced car, with an aggressive roofline and stunning proportions, like a designer’s sketch. We thought about how to get these cars apart,” he said.

Wagener said that despite this, the new CLS will have the same amount of rear space as before. “Head clearance will stay pretty much the same,” he said. “We get bigger wheels on it, too, so we can push them up into the body. The side window profile is like a designer’s line drawing – very slim.”

The Mercedes-AMG GT4 will be positioned as a sportier alternative to the CLS

Auto Express expects that the CLS will be shorn off its more powerful V8 variants in the next generation, so focused is Mercedes on the performance aspects of the AMG GT4. The car will most likely feature the usual four- and six-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, with the middling AMG CLS 43 variant possibly sporting a twin-turbo version of the new straight-six petrol.

Spyshots have shown that the car will carry a very different design direction to the one that came before it, with a lower nose featuring tapered headlights akin to the recent Concept A Sedan. The distinct rear fender line on the current car will also be removed for a simpler look, while the rear end gets slim tail lights and a bumper mounted number plate recess reminiscent of Mercedes’ other coupé offerings.

GALLERY: Next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS spyshots

GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG GT4 spyshots