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Mercedes-Benz developing C-Class-based four-door coupe?

Tentatively called CLC, the segment-stretching coupe will fill the gap between the CLA and the CLS.

A report coming out of Germany finds Mercedes-Benz has started to develop a new four-door coupe that will slot between the CLA and the CLS.

Tentatively called CLC, the segment-stretching coupe will be based on the long-wheelbase version of the C-Class that's currently built in China exclusively for the local market. The bigger dimensions will allow Mercedes designers to give the CLC a flatter roof line, and to provide the passengers riding in the back with a lot more space.

Using a longer rear-wheel drive platform will also help set the CLC apart from the less expensive CLA, which will continue to ride on a modular front-wheel drive platform.

German magazine Auto Bild reports the CLC will share its engines with the facelifted C-Class that's expected to land in a couple of years. One of the highlights from the lineup is a CLC 450 model powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain that's made up of a new straight-six engine tuned to deliver 435 horsepower and a 20-horsepower electric motor. An AMG-tuned model equipped with the same 503-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 as the C63 S will round out the lineup.

If the rumor turns out to be true, Mercedes will introduce the CLC before the end of the decade. When it arrives in showrooms, it will fight head-to-head against the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

What's in a name?

The CLC nameplate was first used from 2008 to 2011 on the final evolution of the C-Class SportCoupe. Never offered in the United States, the CLC was a budget-focused model designed to lure younger buyers into showrooms but it ultimately proved unpopular. It was replaced by the first-ever C-Class Coupe.

Note: Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA pictured.

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