QOTD: Which Niche Survives at Mercedes-Benz?

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Image: Mercedes-Benz

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As cost-cutting born partly of stricter environmental mandates take hold across the industry, low-volume specialty cars and less-popular body styles are getting a rethink. Model lines are being consolidated or dropped, leaving the consumer with less choice than before.

At Mercedes-Benz, which currently fields a dizzying array of vehicles spanning the gamut (minus the pickup segment), the future holds less selection for the consumer who likes to go his or her own way. Bound for the chopping block are the stately S-Class coupe and convertible, and two four-doors also look to be on the way out.

We’ve arrived at a Sophie’s Choice moment.

For those of you not enamoured with such things as the new GLB-class crossover, it’s grim news. Earlier this week, a German newspaper stated that the next models to disappear from the M-B lineup are the CLS coupe (sedan) and the burly AMG GT 4-door, replaced by a single electric model. The sound you just heard was a balloon rapidly losing its air.

Daimler

The CLS, as previously explained by yours truly, started out cheesy (in my opinion), took a confusing turn in its second generation, then came into its own in its current guise. It emerged into a happy middle ground between elegance and sport, with refinement to spare and a desirable inline-six engine fresh off the M-B drawing board.

The AMG GT, another four-door that carries a coupe designation, is the sibling who never leaves the gym and feasts on tuna and cottage cheese during his work break. Muscular and athletic, M-B’s in-house hot rod sedan boasts stratospheric power figures and room for a growing family.

As for the S-Class coupe, it’s an opulent pillarless hardtop. That’s all this writer needs to hear in order to get the inner fires burning. The convertible? However low its volume, the drop-top S-Class seems an excellent getaway vehicle for a weekend in Cannes. Mercedes-Benz has always been known as a manufacturer that caters to its buyers’ needs, regardless of their affluence … or infamy.

There’s four vehicles on the potential chopping block, each with a list of attributes and a niche to fill. If you called the shots in Stuttgart, which one would live on?

[Images: Daimler AG]

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