Our spies have eyes everywhere. A part of the team is currently based in northern Europe to immortalise prototypes of the new Mercedes GLC, including plug-in hybrid vehicles. Another spy photographer caught the compact crossover nearly 1,500 miles away while it was being loaded into a lorry. Surprisingly, it didn't have any camo whatsoever, albeit there was a car cover on its roof and some protection foil on the tailgate.

Caught in Stuttgart, the GLC appeared to be a near-production prototype with all the final bits and pieces in place. You can immediately tell it's the new one by the position of the side mirrors as they've been moved lower on the doors rather than sitting at the base of the A-pillars. The beltline is no longer completely flat since it now gently rises towards the rear. In addition, the door handles are located significantly lower on the door panel where the upper character line is less intrusive.

Gallery: 2023 Mercedes GLC new spy photos

Although from this angle it's hard to tell, the new GLC should be bigger than its predecessor now that Mercedes is also selling a seven-seat GLB boxy crossover. The two have almost the same length, which means the three-pointed star has probably decided to make the spiritual successor to the GLK bigger and avoid a potential overlap.

The rest of the shots depict fully camouflaged prototypes, some of which have a PHEV setup as denoted by the aero wheels and the letter "E" at the end of the number plate. Interestingly, these GLCs appear to be even taller than the one spotted in Germany. The electrified model is expected to inherit the 25.4-kWh battery pack from the latest C300e where it has enough juice for over 62 miles (100 kilometres) of electric range. The GLC 300e might not be able to match that since we're expecting it to be slightly heavier.

The saloon and estate C-Class models are rear-wheel drive for the time being, but chances are AWD will follow and it would make even more sense on the GLC. The turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine works with an electric motor for a combined output of 308 bhp and 550 Newton-metres (406 pound-feet) in the existing C300e.

The PHEV saloon needs 6.1 seconds to hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill whereas the estate takes an extra tenth of a second since it's a smidge bulkier. Top speed when the combustion engine is running sits at 152 mph (245 km/h) for the saloon and a slightly lower 149 mph (240 km/h) for the estate. In EV mode, both top out at 87 mph (140 km/h).

Expect the wraps to come off later this year, with the AMG to follow in 2023. And yes, the GLC 63e, or whatever it will be called, is going to switch from a V8 to the smaller 2.0-litre engine from the "45" models. Mounted longitudinally, the combustion engine with its e-turbo will push out somewhere in the region of 442 bhp (330 kW) before adding the electric motor's extra muscle.