Prototypes with less disguise than ever are now roaming the streets of Germany and Spain.

Earlier this month, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS was spotted in wintery northern Europe; now another two test vehicles have been photographed considerably further south. One was caught on camera in Stuttgart while the other was seen somewhere in Spain – and both prototypes had slightly less camouflage than before to allow us check out more of the final design details of Mercedes' third-generation four-door coupe.

Set to be positioned between the E-Class and the flagship S-Class, the new CLS will likely retain its moniker rather than switching to the 'CLE' nameplate as some reports are indicating. Mercedes did update its nomenclature structure some years ago to better reflect the similarities in size between two models, but the CLS was not affected by the change.

See more spy shots of the new CLS:

Even though it will be closely related to the E-Class saloon, the new CLS is going to adopt a significantly different design, with a swooping roofline and a very long bonnet. It already looks good despite the heavy disguise, although some had been hoping for a shorter rear overhang. The narrow windows will hamper visibility, but that’s a sacrifice owners will have to make to get that sleek side profile.

2018 Mercedes CLS spy photo
2018 Mercedes CLS spy photo

The wheelbase has probably been stretched to ensure extra legroom for passengers sitting in the back, while the boot capacity is expected to receive a boost. Quality and refinement inside the cabin should go up a notch over the E-Class to better reflect the car’s position in the lineup and its higher starting price.

Chances are the saloon will be the only CLS-badged model: reports sadly indicate the CLS Shooting Brake won’t live to see a new generation, so the new Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo won’t have to worry about a rival with the three-pointed star badge.

These CLS prototypes appear to be production-ready, so it won’t be too long until Mercedes removes the camo to host the world premiere. It might happen at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, although an online reveal could occur a few weeks sooner.

Photos: Automedia

Be part of something big