It’s been more than a year since the next-generation W177 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has been seen in spyshots, but the Tristar’s smallest model has now been caught without any camouflage whatsoever. Both the sedan and hatchback have been spotted here, painted in crash test orange but otherwise unadorned.

The design was previewed by the Concept A Sedan earlier this year, and while it’s been watered down quite a bit since then, the basic design elements have been left intact. These include the slim, tapered headlights, which flank a trapezoidal grille similar to the facelifted AMG GT – likely to feature Panamericana-style vertical slats on the AMG A 45 models.

Along the sides, the distinctive upswept character line of the current W176 model has been straightened out here, while the door mirrors have been moved down from the base of the A-pillar. Moving to the rear, there are wider GLA-esque two-piece tail lights on the hatch; the sedan gets more angular items akin to the previous-generation W212 E-Class.

Built on the revised Modular Front Architecture (MFA), the new A-Class looks to be significantly larger than before, with interior space expected to be increased through repositioned engines and lower seat mountings; a long-wheelbase sedan for the Chinese market should provide even more room. Previous spyshots have shown an E-Class-style dashboard with large screens for the instrument display and infotainment.

Engines will likely include a new range of four-cylinder turbo petrol and diesel engines – the latter already seen on the latest E-Class – which may or may not be paired to a new torque converter automatic gearbox rather than the dual-clutch transmission used today. Also on the cards is a plug-in hybrid variant as Mercedes looks to expand its lineup of electrified vehicles.

Hot hatch enthusiasts can expect no less than two AMG models, with outputs of the existing A 45 expected to swell beyond 400 hp in order to beat the Audi RS3 in the horsepower stakes. That would leave space for a mid-range A 40 model with around 300 hp, taking on the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS.