Right on the heels of news that Mercedes-Benz is developing a line of compact electric cars, we come across spy photos showing what appears to be the next CLA and EQA class saloon. Even under heavy camouflage with the grille and lights taped off, it's our best look yet at the next baby Benz.
Gallery: Mercedes EQA / CLA Saloon Spy Photos
The photos appear to show three different cars testing, based on the license plates and slightly different camouflage designs. We have yet to determine if these are different variants of the Mercedes-Benz CLA, or if there is an EQA electric vehicle thrown in the mix. One vehicle has its fuel door open, although it's impossible to tell if it provides access to a fuel filler or charging port.
From what we know, the next CLA will be based on the MMA platform, which stands for Mercedes Modular Architecture. This new platform debuts in 2024 and will underpin all small EVs and internal combustion cars in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, including those with hybrid and PHEV powertrains.
While hard to tell from the camouflage, the car seems to resemble the EQXX concept. It appears to have frameless doors and a swoopy, curved roof similar to the current CLA. Two of the cars have standard door handles, while one appears to have a flush design reminiscent of some of Mercedes-Benz's other products. The automaker introduced the flush door handles as an option on other new models, so it's likely it will carry over to the new CLA.
At this time, we don't know if the car will carry the EQA Saloon moniker or if it will be positioned as a new electric version of the CLA. However, based on the amount of camouflage, it's likely we won't see the official version of the car for a while. In January, we showed a rendering of what the new model could look like. As for its debut, the most likely scenario is that it could happen in 2024 as a 2025 model.