Mercedes has announced plans to simplify its lineup by cutting down on the number of compact cars but there will also be other casualties. Following the demise of the SLC, S-Class Coupe, S-Class Convertible, and the AMG GT Roadster, the three-pointed star is preparing to axe additional two-door models in the near future. The coupe and cabriolet versions of the C-Class and E-Class are widely believed to morph into a CLE Coupe and Convertible.

Spies have now spotted the model with the fixed roof testing on a frozen lake in Scandinavia. It's not just any CLE, but the range-topping AMG 63 powersliding on ice while hiding its production body underneath full camouflage. Those yellow high-voltage stickers indicate the test vehicle has a plug-in hybrid setup, which could be borrowed from the new C63.

New Mercedes-AMG CLE63 Coupe Spy Photos

The CLE is expected to be a spiritual successor of the CLK by being a C-Class-based model with an asking price closer to the E-Class. If it's mechanically related to the C-Class, it means Mercedes will sell the coupe and convertible duo exclusively with four-cylinder engines, including the hotter C43 and C63 derivatives. For more cylinders, you'll have to step up to the next-generation E-Class as we’re hoping the fancier model won't be bitten by the downsizing bug.

Going up against the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5, the new CLE is likely going to be bigger than the C-Class but smaller than the E-Class two-door models they're about to replace. Car paparazzi have spotted the convertible featuring a fabric roof, which isn't all that surprising since hardtops are heavier and take up more space when folded. The interior should be a mélange between the current C-Class W206 and the E-Class W214 debuting on April 25.

The German luxury brand will reportedly unveil the CLE Coupe later this year, with the equivalent convertible to follow at some point in 2024. The high-performance AMG models are likely slated to arrive next year as well for both body styles. These two new arrivals will be positioned below the next-generation AMG GT Coupe and the already available SL.