The future Mercedes CLA has already been spied on multiple instances in ICE and EV flavors but this is the first time we're seeing its crossover version. The completely closed front grille suggests we're dealing with the purely electric model but the ones with combustion engines should look nearly the same. That's because the German luxury brand will use its new MMA platform for all variations of the next-generation GLA.

We don't think the prototype looks big enough to be the new EQC, which is expected to ride on a dedicated platform shared with a future electric C-Class-sized sedan. This test vehicle caught on the streets of Germany has the proportions of a car engineered to accommodate combustion engines, much like the current GLA and EQA are nearly identical. BMW has the same strategy in place with the X1 and iX1 duo.

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA

Although the production body panels seem to be in place, those are definitely not the final headlights and taillights. As with the electric CLA spotted earlier this week, the pop-out door handles are sticking out from the body even when the car is in motion. The new GLA/EQA will be part of the upcoming "Entry Luxury" class, along with the CLA and whatever compact models will survive in the next generation as there will be fewer small cars.

The next-gen CLA will be the first to hit the market in 2024, following an official preview next month at IAA Munich where Mercedes will show a near-production concept car. Expect lessons learned from the Vision EQXX to make their way into these future models, which will be underpinned by a platform primarily engineered for EVs rather than for ICEs as it's the case with the EQA on sale today.

In April 2022, Mercedes-Benz vice president of development for electric drive, Christoph Starzynski, spoke with Motor1.com about the forthcoming MMA architecture: "The platform will be EV-first but not EV-exclusive, and the compromise will rest on the ICE side, not the EV side." One would argue that making compromises clashes with the company’s “the best or nothing slogan."

MMA-based cars will use a next-gen infotainment system dubbed "MB.OS" that is being developed in-house to cut costs and allow Mercedes to have greater control over the final product.

We're hearing the three-pointed star will begin to drop the "EQ" branding in 2024, so the EQA could go by a different moniker.

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