Mercedes is preparing to axe the CLC to make way for a new C-class coupe in 2011, Autocar can reveal.
The C-Class coupe will be the second two-door based on the existing C-class but the first to take its name into production.
Set to go on sale in the UK at the same time as facelifted versions of the existing saloon and estate reach showrooms in early 2011, the new C-class coupe has been conceived to replace the CLK, discontinued earlier this year after 12 years and two model generations.
The introduction of the C-Class coupe spells the end for the CLC, a small sports hatch that was only recently updated. Sources indicated the model will be phased out and will be replaced by the new coupe.
The forthcoming two-door eschews a unique body shell and individual styling that made the CLK such a success for a comparatively upright look that draws heavily on the silhouette and detailing of its four door siblings.
“We went back and studied what made our coupes so popular in the past. If you look at some of the more successful two door models Mercedes-Benz has produced you can see a direct relationship between them and their four door stable mates,” said an insider describing the new coupe’s appearance.
Don’t expect the new Mercedes-Benz to have a very long life, though. With engineering of the fourth-generation C-class already underway at the German car maker’s R&D centre near Stuttgart, the new two door is planned to be sold for a maximum of four years before it is replaced by a much more curvaceous model that’s likely to follow the example of the CLS in boasting a more practical four door layout.
The upcoming C-class coupe will be the second two-door model to be based on today’s C-class. Unlike the E-class coupe, however, the C-class version will not be modified and offered in cabriolet guise.
“We did look at an open top version but in the end the costs were too high given the short model life,” revealed Autocar’s source.