New spy images give a closer look at the new performance model's design elements, ahead of an official reveal anticipated for later this year.

The next-generation Mercedes-AMG CLA45 has been spied again, this time with a bit less disguise than previous prototypes we've seen.

Compared to the vehicle spied just a week ago, this CLA45 has far less swirly black-and-wipe wrap concealing its front and rear fascias, giving us a much clearer look at the light units and bumpers.

Up front the gaping Panamericana grille is flanked by two large intakes on either side of the more aggressive front bumper, with deeper skirts down each side of the vehicle.

Down back, there's a beefy rear bumper with a diffuser and large quad tailpipes, along with a lip spoiler on the bootlid.

Filling the arches are large alloy wheels in a star-spoke design on this particular vehicle, which may not be indicative of the final rim designs.

Behind the wheels, however, are much larger brakes than the standard CLA.

Power in the AMG CLA45 should come from a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine, available in two states of tune – like the upcoming AMG A45.

While not confirmed, it's believed the 'standard' CLA45 will make around 285kW, climbing to a beefy 310kW for the "S' version. Both will send drive to all four wheels (including a drift mode for the all-wheel drive system) via a dual-clutch automatic.

Beyond the external and mechanical upgrades, the CLA's interior should gain sportier trims and options, including sports seats, carbon-fibre inlays, and model-specific displays for the MBUX infotainment system.

As for timing, the AMG CLA45 should debut before the end of the year, potentially at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest updates, and click on the images for the full gallery.