Mercedes unveils Concept A-Class

  • To be unveiled at Shanghai motor show
  • Mercedes says it heralds a new era
  • Production car is expected to go on sale in 2013
The Mercedes Concept A-Class
The Mercedes Concept A-Class
This is the first indication of how a new small Mercedes-Benz could look. The Concept A-Class will be unveiled at the Shanghai motor show in two weeks.

Mercedes says the concept brings in a new era for the company’s small cars, and it has a far more sporty look than the current A-Class. Rather than an MPV-like profile, the car has a long bonnet and low roofline, and is based on a new front-wheel-drive platform that will underpin several new models, including the new A- and B-Classes.

Visually, it follows on from the F800 Style concept car that was shown at the 2010 Geneva motor show and said at the time to preview a replacement for the CLC, which will form part of the new A-Class family.

The strongly sculpted lines on the side are designed to give the Concept A-Class a coupe-like look, but perhaps the most remarkable part of the new car is the nose. Here, the grille abandons a more conventional layout in favour of lots of metallic silver hexagons on black stems, while the headlights repeat the theme, with several lighting points.

More photos of the Mercedes Concept A-Class

> Concept A-Class 1: click to enlarge
> Concept A-Class 2: click to enlarge
> Concept A-Class 3: click to enlarge
> Concept A-Class 4: click to enlarge
> Concept A-Class 5: click to enlarge
> Concept A-Class 6: click to enlarge
In the cabin
Inside, the cabin design takes its inspiration from aviation. The dashboard, for example, is designed to look like an aircraft wing – its stretchable textile lining allows the structure underneath to be seen – while the dials and air vents mimic jet engines.

At the same time, a smartphone is integrated into the vehicle, and all its functions are shown on the display and can be controlled using the rotary/push control.

As well as a new look, the concept car also previews some new technology, such as the engine. Mated to a dual-clutch transmission, the 2.0-litre unit is from Mercedes’ new M270 family, and combines turbocharging and direct injection to produce a high power output (207bhp) with low emissions and good fuel economy.

Finally, for the first time in a car of this class, the concept model also has a radar-based collision-warning system, which helps to avoid rear-end impacts.

This vehicle is strictly a concept car, but we expect the first of the production cars it previews to be launched in late 2012 and to go on sale in the UK in 2013.

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