Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class Previews Production Model

By Brandon Turkus

April 07, 2011

Set for dual unveilings at both the Shanghai and New York Auto Shows is this near production-ready example of the next Mercedes-Benz A-Class. While the last-generation A-Class was more of a mini MPV (minivan-like profile, minus the sliding doors and room for five), this new model looks decidedly more like a premium compact hatch in the same vein as the Audi A1 or Mini Cooper.

It should have no problem competing with either its German or British rivals when it comes to speed. The concept car is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4. With the help of direct injection, it generates an ample 210 horsepower, which is then routed to the front wheels through a dual-clutch transmission. We’d expect this to be the top-spec engine in the production car (unless an AMG comes along), with a range of smaller gas and diesel motors.
 
We can only hope that when the A-Class hits production, it retains the Concept’s good looks. This is a properly striking small hatchback. It looks especially good when viewed from the rear quarter, where the squat greenhouse, wraparound taillights, and sharply creased accents in the doors create an aggressive stance that clearly separates this car from the previous A-Class.
 
We expect the announcement of a production version sometime before the end of this year.
 
Please scroll down for the official press release from Mercedes-Benz.
 
Mercedes Concept A-Class: the beginning of a new compact generation
 
World premiere at the New York Auto Show
 
April 07, 2011 - MONTVALE, NJ
 
The Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class will make its debut at both the 2011 New York and Shanghai Auto Shows later this month. Looking as though it might have come from another planet, the Concept A-Class features an expressive and athletic design. Technical highlights include a new turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, a dual clutch transmission and a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist.
 
The aggressive appearance of the Concept A-Class, with its long hood, low silhouette and slim side windows, is given depth by the interplay between lines and surfaces. Inspiration was drawn from the wind and the waves, as well as aviation engineering.
 
The Concept A-Class previews a new compact class era at Mercedes-Benz. This front-wheel drive model is powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine from the new M270 series. It was designed for transverse installation and thanks to direct injection and turbocharging, offers high performance together with minimal emissions and fuel consumption. The Concept A-Class is equipped with the twoliter variant of the new engine, developing 210 hp. This BlueEFFICIENCY engine is mated to the new Mercedes-Benz dual clutch transmission.
 
As a world first in the compact class, the concept car features a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist, which lowers the risk of rearend collisions. This assistance system gives a visual and acoustic warning to an inattentive driver and prepares Brake Assist for a precise braking response. Braking is initiated as soon as the driver forcefully operates the brake pedal.
 
Defined edges and a free interplay with the body surfaces
 
The exterior design of the Concept A-Class features the combination of defined edges and free interplay with the body surfaces that Mercedes-Benz first showed in the F800 Style. The side view is structured with three prominent lines: the front structural edge above the front fender forms a dropping line, while the prominent shoulder muscle above the rear axle underlines the car's coupe-like character. A further line extends upwards from the rear wheel arch in a sweeping curve.
 
The front end of the Concept A-Class immediately catches the eye with the Mercedes- Benz star logo surrounded by what looks like a star-filled sky. Where there are usually openings or louvers, the radiator grille consists of numerous metallic silver hexagons on black stems. This theme is reflected in the design of the wheels. The headlights of the Concept A-Class continue this design element with innovative full-LED high-performance headlamps repeating the starry sky motif with numerous light points. The daytime running lamps consist of 90 optical fibers with aluminum sleeves which are arranged in a wing-shape within the headlamp.
 
In the interior, the eye is immediately drawn to the dashboard which has the shape of an aircraft wing and a translucent, stretchable fabric lining. This enables the bionic, cellular structure of the dashboard to remain visible.
 
The shape of the air vents in the dashboard is reminiscent of a jet aircraft. The prominent dials in the instrument cluster are in red, inspired by the afterburner of a jet engine. The center console is designed as a modern flight control panel, with the shift lever designed as a "reverse thrust control".
 
A smartphone is fully integrated into the Concept A-Class. All functions are shown in the display as applications, and can be operated using the rotary/push control. The visual presentation of the display screen elements is unique, with a deep, three-dimensional appearance created by laser-like magenta-colored lines.
 
U.S. Contacts:
 
Robert Moran: tel. (201) 573-2245, robert.moran@mbusa.com
Dan Barile: tel. (201) 573-4785, daniel.barile@mbusa.com
Nicole Weiss: tel. (201) 573-2799, nicole.weiss@mbusa.com
 
Further information from Mercedes-Benz is available online at www.media.mbusa.com
 
International Contacts:
 
Wolfgang Zanker: tel. +49 (0)711 17-75847, wolfgang.zanker@daimler.com
Frank Bracke: tel. +49 711-17-75852, frank.bracke@daimler.com
 
Further information about Mercedes-Benz is available online: www.media.daimler.com