The successor to the Mercedes-Benz CLA, a sedan to be offered with both electric and combustion powertrains, is taking shape.

    Spy photographers have spotted the electric version of the next-generation sedan, which appears to have borrowed the majority of its design cues from the current CLA

    The absence of an exhaust at the rear gives the first tip-off that this is the electric mule. 

    Changes from the previously spied petrol-powered version include flush door handles which pop out compared to the conventional handles on previous test mules, and a smooth, grille-less front fascia. 

    However, a lower air intake below the licence plate can still be spotted. 

    The raked roof and short rear overhang remain for the electric version, keeping a spacious rear and moulded side panels across all spied prototypes

    Final light fixtures appear to be shown on this production-stage prototype. At the front, slim LED daytime running strip lights sit above well-camouflaged headlight clusters. 

    In the rear, heavily camouflaged light clusters sit below what could be a well-hidden full-width light bar similar to those on the EQE and EQS models. 

    A blacked-out circle is noticeable on the front of the prototype, holding space for a large three-pointed star.

    Dealers in the US were shown the electric variant of the upcoming CLA successor back in May, which Mercedes-Benz claimed has a range of 644km.

    Several weeks ago, Mercedes-Benz released a teaser for a concept car to be unveiled in Munich that will “redefine the Mercedes-Benz Entry Segment”. 

    Although the teaser images only provide a dimly-lit profile of the car, we can see that it sports the same CLA-shaped silhouette and exterior mirrors as this spied prototype. 

    The timing of this concept car to launch the Entry Luxury line would explain why these spied prototypes of the CLA successor are appearing just months after Mercedes-Benz revealed a facelifted version of the outgoing CLA. 

    This facelifted 2023 CLA has only just started to reach customers in Europe and will arrive in Australia in the second half of 2023. 

    Considering the launch of a new concept car and product line is imminent, it is seeming more likely that Mercedes-Benz will drop the CLA nameplate for the next-generation model. 

    The Entry Luxury line, reduced to four models rather than the initial seven, will enable Mercedes-Benz to begin “honing in more precisely on the wishes of discerning customers”.

    The new concept is expected to be the first model within Mercedes-Benz’s Entry Luxury line-up to use the new MMA platform. 

    The platform will support both internal-combustion and electric powertrains and will replace the current MFA2 platform underpinning the existing CLA as well as models like the A-Class.

    It will also be the first to use the new Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS).

    Mercedes-Benz has announced from 2025 onwards all of its newly launched vehicle architectures will be electric-only, meaning the MMA platform will likely be the last Mercedes-Benz platform introduced with the option of ICE power. 

    MORE: Everything Mercedes-Benz CLA

    Eilidh McNaughton
    Eilidh McNaughton is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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