Somebody at Mercedes-Benz has given the petrolheads in the cybergarage an unexpected Christmas present in the form of these five official pictures of the upcoming CLA compact sedan.

Which has also fuelled speculation that the CLA could make its world debut at the Detroit auto show in mid-January - particularly is it is the only variant among Stuttgart's new front-wheel drive family of models (all based on the new A-Class hatch, of course) that's scheduled for release in the United States.

It's worth noting, however, that this is not a standard CLA sedan. The car in the pictures has almost all the AMG aero kit and interior styling kit fitted, but it is not a CLA 45 AMG - that will, apparently, have a distinctively different grille.


The CLA 45 AMG will also have a tweaked version of Stuttgart's new turbopetrol four for which Affalterbach's whitecoats are quoting 258kW and 450Nm, as well as a new version of Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system, developed specifically for transverse-engined front-wheel drive cars, as standard issue.

All-wheel drive will also be available, in selected markets, on the rest of the CLA range, which will; be offered with the same diesel and petrol engine options as the A-Class hatch with which it shares a platform, including a 155kW BlueEfficiency version of the two-litre turbopetrol.

MBSA say no decision has yet been made as to when the CLA will be released in South Africa.