The first time it was spotted, the next Mercedes-Benz A-Class was seen heavily camouflaged underneath body cladding and disguises, and now for its winter testing runs the Stuttgart automaker’s compact hatchback has shed most of its exterior cladding.

The A-Class now sports a lower and sleeker front end, with a slimmer set of headlamps while at the back, what appears to be the production tail lamps are now seen fitted to the test mule. As indicated by previous sightings of the A-Class mule, the rear lights are now wider in the mold of the GLA, with the units split between body and tail gate.

This sighting is also our first with the new car’s interior, though it is still mostly still hidden by concealing fabric. The images do, however, reveal new LCD instrumentation inside the upcoming A-Class, similar to E-Class fashion. Here, the new device appears to be a singular item for both vehicular instrumentation as well as infotainment; the screen appears to adopt the current A-Class item’s upright floating tablet positioning.

A new steering wheel design is present in this test mule, too, one with a smaller central wheel boss and what appears to be spokes heavily populated by toggles and scroll pads; the latter also seen prior on the W213 E-Class. Further along the interior, the central console in the A-Class mule appears to protrude further out from the dashboard than before, though that too is still behind cover.

The new MFA2 platform upon which this upcoming A-Class is based, will have greater versatility than before for a wider variety of models, whilst also being lighter for weight management. The aforementioned split tail lights are also a function of the A-Class gaining a wider boot aperture for easier access to luggage, whilst further inside, rear seat passengers should enjoy more room.

Motive power will come from a plethora of four-cylinder engines, both petrol and diesel. This time around, it’s said that there will be two AMGs, an A 40 and the full-cream A 45; the former estimated to have 300 hp and the latter to top 400 hp. With the newfound flexibility of the MFA2 platform, a plug-in hybrid variant is expected as well.

The next-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class is expected to make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year, as a 2018 model year release.