Mercedes has made no secret of the need to prune its product offering. “Complexity adds costs,” as put bluntly by R&D boss Markus Schäfer in 2020 when vowing to “eliminate” the manual gearbox and cut the number of powertrains.

But the move to replace six models with two – the upcoming CLE coupé and convertible – will be the most tangible of any rationalisation efforts. 

How will the CLE replace at once the S-Class Coupé, which started at more than £100,000, and the C-Class Coupé, at around £41,000? There will be more accessible variants of the CLE which tap into the market for style-led alternatives to traditional exec stalwarts, and there will be a snarling AMG version at the top end with the firepower and the price to match the outgoing 63-badged two-doors, but the gulf between the two will need to be as tangible in material and potency as it is in price.

Mercedes might have to make concessions and usher in a plethora of trims and powertrains to cover the broad price range or risk buyers being tempted by the still-extensive range of rival BMW two-door models, ranging from the 2 Series through 4 Series to 8 Series.

That seems to go against the rationale that's bringing us the CLE in the first place, but tellingly, Schäfer vowed to "reduce the number of options significantly", suggesting that each CLE will be differentiated from the next by its powertrain and badge, rather than upholstery and audio system manufactuer.