The global recession, hastened by the coronavirus pandemic, has forced cutbacks and a general tightening of belts across the automotive industry. That fate has also befallen Mercedes-Benz and, having proliferated its coupé and convertible lineup over the past decade, those models will seemingly also be the first to go.

Italian automotive portal Autoblog has reported that Mercedes will replace the C- and E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet models with a single model tipped to be called the CLE. This will mark the return of a mid-sized coupé in the range – a position once occupied by the CLK before the company diversified its portfolio.

That said, it’s still unclear what form factor the CLE will actually take. The article stated that the car would share the same body shape as the CLA and CLS, which are both four-door coupés. While this would leave Mercedes without an entry-level two-door hardtop, the move would make sense given that the three models would share similar three-letter monikers.

However, the report also said that the CLE will get a shooting brake and cabriolet variants – the latter body style is not available on either the CLA or CLS. It would be bizarre for Mercedes to offer a single “coupé” model in so many variations, but time will tell I suppose.

In any case, the CLE will be based on the Modular Rear Architecture (MRA), just like the C- and E-Class Coupés. Expect the usual range of four- and six-cylinder engines, including the new OM654M 2.0 litre turbodiesel that recently debuted on the facelifted E-Class Coupé. This features a longer stroke, twin variable-geometry turbochargers and a 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid system.

Also expect an AMG CLE 63 which, if recent reports are correct, will come with a hybrid version of the A 45‘s 2.0 litre M139 four-pot to replace the thumping 4.0 litre M177 twin-turbo V8.