Mercedes-AMG have been spied testing what’s believed to be the upcoming CLE 63.

The new performance model replaces the outgoing C63 coupe, with the new CLE line expected to supplant the existing C-Class coupe and convertible and E-Class coupe and convertible line-ups. Convertible CLE variants have also been spied.

The upcoming range is expected to be topped with an AMG 63 variant, which will directly rival the BMW M4 and Audi RS5.

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Although the prototype is still heavily camouflaged, it appears to be close to production-ready, suggesting a reveal this year.

The model spied features squared-off quad exhaust outlets, as seen on other current AMG 63 models.

The flagship CLE appears to have a wider look than other CLE variants spied, as well as sportier front and rear bumpers, a lower ride height, and bigger wheels and brakes.

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It wears its charging port on the right-hand side of the rear bumper.

The CLE is expected to share the C-Class’ MRA2 architecture, and the AMG CLE 63 is therefore expected to use the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the new C63 S E Performance.

This pairs a 350kW/545Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, known as the M139, with a nine-speed multi-clutch transmission, a 150kW rear axle electric motor with a two-speed transmission and limited-slip differential unit, and a 6.1kWh battery.

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All up, system outputs are 500kW of power and 1020Nm of torque, with a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds and 13km of pure EV range.

Kerb weight in the hottest C-Class is 2111kg, or around 300kg more than the old twin-turbocharged V8 C63.

Mercedes-Benz has been shrinking its coupe and convertible line-up, axing two-door versions of the S-Class and dropping the SLC droptop.

By replacing two-door C-Class and E-Class models with a single CLE line, the brand is returning to a strategy it used to employ.

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The old CLK was sold between 1997 and 2010 for two generations, both using C-Class underpinnings but E-Class styling cues.

In 2017, Mercedes-Benz returned the coupe and convertible to its E-Class line-up, which it sold concurrently with the C-Class coupe and convertible.

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