Three prototypes of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA Sedan have been spotted wearing heavy camouflage during cold weather testing, ahead of an expected debut sometime in late 2024.
It’s the first time the new generation model has been captured on camera by our spy photographers and at this point, it’s pretty hard to make out any specific details, but, with this being said, there are some pointers that seem a bit too obvious to ignore.
To begin with, one of the three prototypes has the charging port cover open, which may be a sign of a forgetful employee that was too cold and left the flap open after unplugging the charging cable, or it may be something intentional, left there for everybody to see. We may never know, but the fact of the matter is that the photos clearly show a CCS Combo 2 connector on the right C-pillar of the car, with an active white light next to it.
The other two prototypes don’t have the small side door open, so it’s unclear if they’re EVs or internal combustion models, as there are no “electric test vehicle” signs on them, as is usually the case with these camouflaged cars.
One of the test vehicles has flush door handles, while the other two are sporting more conventional grab handles, which means the upcoming CLA Sedan might be offered with both variants, as is the case with some of the German manufacturer’s models today, where you can optionally spec them with automatically-rising handles.
There are no photos of the interior yet, with our spies saying that they were completely covered and nothing conclusive was left out in the open.
Gallery: Mercedes EQA / CLA Sedan Spy Photos
Last year, Mercedes-Benz said it was working on a new architecture for its Entry Luxury lineup, named Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA), which will gradually replace today’s front-wheel drive lineup of cars that includes the A-Class, CLA, GLA, and EQA. The new platform will reportedly be developed for electric vehicles first, and then be adapted for plug-in hybrids and internal combustion models, so it’s possible that all three variants have been photographed during cold weather testing.
It’s also possible that Mercedes will adopt a new naming scheme for these entry-level models, but it’s unclear if they’ll get the EQ moniker, as the brand will reportedly drop this branding as early as 2024.
The first models based on this new architecture are expected to debut sometime in late 2024 or early 2025, with the EVs coming first, followed by their combustion-powered counterparts, although the latter won’t have a very long life, with the German carmaker planning to go all-electric by 2030 “where market conditions allow.”