Now, you do not have too much work cut out for you if you want to think about this model's rivals. It is meant to compete with the Audi A5 and the BMW 4 Series. Both BMW and Audi have figured out the right size for their mid-size model-based coupe and convertible for some time now, and it appears that Mercedes-Benz is following that same route.
Those of you who remember the Mercedes-Benz CLK might have a small moment of nostalgia mixed with a slight grin. When it first reached the market, the CLK was based on the E-Class, and it was styled and sized accordingly. It was the replacement of the A124, a W124-based coupe that was then offered as a convertible for the last years of that model's lifecycle.
The CLK facelift was then meant to resemble the C-Class. The same thing happened to the second generation, which was then replaced by the E-Class Coupe and E Class Convertible. The CLK was just the right size at the time of its launch, as the CLE is meant to be just that in 2022 when it will be released as an MY2023 vehicle.
Mind you, the prototype of the CLE Cabriolet was previously spotted in Sweden when it was being benchmarked with the E-Class Convertible. The C-Class Convertible was missing from that event because the CLE will be aimed towards the customers of the E-Class Convertible.
That means that those who could only afford a C-Class Convertible would have to make an extra effort or just buy something else. Mercedes plans to make its lineup more efficient, so it does make sense to cut models that are not close to their sales targets.
Unlike the CLK, the CLE will be based on the C-Class platform and get its full range of tech, but it will have a dedicated front end. You cannot see that in the photo gallery at the moment, as the prototype is covered in camouflage, but that is the direction that was chosen by the German marque. It seems like the right one if we are to judge by what Audi and BMW are currently offering in the segment.