Electric Mercedes-AMG CLA saloon: spy shots of new performance flagship taking shape

Mercedes is on the cusp of introducing the new MMA-underpinned CLA saloon and we’d be shocked if this wasn’t the AMG flagship

The next generation of Mercedes EVs is right around the corner, with the brand’s new all-electric CLA saloon only a few months away from its reveal. Alongside the incoming CLA, Mercedes has already gone on record to say a shooting brake and two SUVs will be arriving, but this is our first hint that high performance AMG models will also be part of the new model blitz. 

Spied in cold weather testing, this CLA prototype shares many elements with its less performance-focused siblings. These include production-relevant lighting elements on both the front and rear, plus what appears to be a painted pre-production body, but there are a few elements on the test car that could well be hiding some AMG-derived performance upgrades.

Being all-electric, the new AMG CLA doesn’t have four proud exhaust pipes hiding under the bumper, but we can see a set of upsized brakes running ventilated discs and four-piston calipers. The body also sits low on the large wheels, and the rear boot lid has a large camouflaged section that could be hiding some sort of rear wing. 

Like the standard CLA, the AMG version will be built on the MMA platform, Merc’s next generation electrical architecture running an 800V system that will be capable of up to 250kW charging. While the standard CLA will be focused on efficiency, that same development should also yield benefits for a high performance application. 

The standard CLA will run a single electric motor with a two-speed transmission, but as with AMG’s plan to design and develop specific e-motors for its own models, we suspect it’ll utilise a more powerful pair of motors and, as you might be able to tell from some of our images, a definite rear-wheel bias to the torque split. 

AMG is also expected to go through its usual round of chassis and styling updates, but being so early in the process we can only speculate what might be in store. 

In terms of rivals, the electric Mercedes-AMG CLA will most likely have the German performance compact EV space to itself initially, with both BMW M and Audi Sport focusing their attention on larger models like the forthcoming iM3 and RS 6 E-tron. Instead, the flagship CLA will have to deal with new-age competitors, with companies like Hyundai and Tesla leading the charge in the segment. 

Now read more about the best electric cars to buy right now...

Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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