Mercedes has already announced plans to simplify its compact car lineup by phasing out some offerings. While the A-Class Saloon is expected to bow out at the end of the current model's life cycle, the CLA will live to see a third generation. The upcoming saloon will be part of the newly founded Entry Luxury category. It has now been spotted as a prototype with the final headlights and taillights as well as what appears to be the production body.

Teased as a concept coming to IAA Munich next month, the smallest saloon to carry the three-pointed star will ride on the Mercedes Modular Architecture. It seems we're looking at the fully electric version judging by the absence of an exhaust but it's obvious from the vehicle's proportions that it has been developed to accommodate combustion engines as well. The German luxury brand has already confirmed MMA is being engineered for both ICE and EV applications.

Next-gen Mercedes CLA spy photos

The next-gen CLA won't have a bigger brother anymore since Mercedes is pulling the plug on the CLS at the end of this month. From what we can tell, it appears to be a sedan by having a boot lid instead of a more practical liftback body style despite the sloping roofline suggesting it has a tailgate. The pop-out door handles are sticking out but they'll be flush with the body on the production car to improve airflow for better efficiency. It looks as though the prototype is hiding a rear light bar judging by the cutouts in the camo on the boot lid for the reverse lights.

The 2025 CLA is shaping up to be a looker and should be even more attractive with a set of larger wheels. The black circle on the grille hides a huge Mercedes logo, and there seems to be a functional lower air intake considering there are holes in the camouflage. The wide horizontal LED daytime running lights are located at the top of the headlights and we won't be too surprised if they'll meet in the middle seeing as how light bars are all the rage these days. In fact, Mercedes has been installing a horizontal light strip at the front of its EQ models for some time.

Speaking of which, rumour has it the EQ branding will be gradually dropped beginning in 2024, starting with the fully electric G-Class said to eschew the two letters. If true, it means the electric CLA won't be called EQA but surely Mercedes has already figured out how to differentiate the conventionally powered sedan from its zero-emission sibling.

We should learn more about the future CLA and what seems like a curved screen in September when the concept will be unveiled at the 2023 IAA. The next E-Class All-Terrain will debut there as well. These two will share the spotlight with the Vision EQXX and the spectacular Vision One-Eleven.