Mercedes-Benz has big plans for its small car range. Starting next year, the Stuttgart-based company will launch a series of products based on the new MMA platform (Mercedes Modular Architecture), which will underpin electric and combustion vehicles. Today, we are happy to share a short spy video with the next-generation CLA caught on camera in German traffic.

We are not certain whether this footage comes from the city of Stuttgart or another location, though the more important thing is that the prototype clearly shows its saloon shape despite the huge amount of disguise. The headlights and taillights both appear to be provisional units and there are fake body panels added to both the front and rear fascias. We can’t tell much about the little details but at least we see what appear to be flush door handles, door-mounted side mirrors, and a relatively long rear overhang.

Gallery: Mercedes EQA / CLA Saloon Spy Photos

It is also difficult to tell whether this prototype has a combustion engine under the bonnet but looking at the rear end, we can’t seem to find an exhaust pipe. Also, the floor of the small saloon looks pretty flat, which is a feature mainly seen in battery-powered vehicles. If this is indeed the model tentatively known as the EQA, it should arrive around the middle of the decade and will reportedly offer 350-kW charging and a new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack. It will be aimed against the BMW i4 despite being smaller.

As evident from the amount of camouflage, the next-gen CLA is still in the relatively early stages of development. Our exclusive rendering from January this year (see above) attempted to preview the design of the small saloon in electric form, though many things could change from now until the full and official debut of the vehicle. Speaking of the launch date, don’t expect to see the new CLA/EQA this year as all evidence points towards a 2024 premiere.