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Mercedes Concept A-Class revealed - debut in Shanghai [videos]

Mercedes has released first photos and details of the A-Class Concept which will make its world premiere at the Auto Shanghai show on 19 April.

Mercedes shocked when they first dropped the A-Class teaser sketch last month and now these first images are really stunning. "Concentrated dynamism" is how Mercedes describes this concept preview of the next generation A-Class and we couldn't agree more.

Thinking of the classic A-Class from the past 15 years, a frumpy and conservative mini MPV comes to mind. Not anymore, as Mercedes has injected some testosterone with this very sporty three-door hatchback intended to usher in a new compact class era at Mercedes-Benz. Those earlier reports of an AMG powered A-Class suddenly make sense.

Designed with influence from the wind, waves, and aviation engineering, the Concept A-Class features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine based on the new M270 series and a dual clutch transmission driving the front wheels. The engine developes 208 bhp (155 kW / 210 PS). Other highlights include full-LED high-performance headlamps, Mercedes' BlueEFFICIENCY package and radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist.

Check out the press release below for a full design analysis.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

World premiere at the Auto Shanghai show (21 - 28 April 2011): Mercedes Concept A-Class: the first heartbeat of a new generation

Stuttgart/Shanghai. With the Concept A-Class, Mercedes-Benz is presenting a car that might have come from another planet: its expressive design symbolises concentrated dynamism. The technical highlights include a new, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, a dual clutch transmission and a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist.

A long bonnet, a low silhouette and slim window areas: the proportions of the Concept A-Class suggest concentrated dynamism. The car's sporty appearance is given particular depth by the interplay between lines and surfaces. The wind and the waves, as well as aviation engineering, were the sources of inspiration for its designers.
But it is not only visually, but also technologically that the Concept A-Class is ushering in a new compact class era at Mercedes-Benz. This front-wheel drive model is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine from the new M270 series. It was designed for transverse installation, and thanks to direct injection and turbocharging it offers a high performance potential together with minimal emissions and fuel consumption. The Concept A-Class is equipped with the two-litre variant of the new engine, developing 155 kW (210 hp). This BlueEFFICIENCY unit is combined with 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 rear-end collisions. This assistance system, Collision Prevention Assist, gives a visual and acoustic warning to a possibly inattentive driver, and prepares Brake Assist for an absolutely precise braking response. This is initiated as soon as the driver emphatically 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 the Mercedes-Benz first showed in the F 800 Style. The side view is structured by three prominent lines: the front structural edge above the front wing forms a dropping line, while the prominent shoulder muscle above the rear axle underlines the car's coupé-like character. A further line extends upwards from the rear wheel arch in a sweeping curve.

The front end of the Concept A-Class is a real eye-catcher. The brand logo appears to be surrounded by a starry sky. Where there are usually apertures or louvres, the radiator grille consists of numerous metallic silver "dots" on black stems. This theme is reflected in the design of the wheels. A very special effect is created by the lights of the Concept A-Class, as the innovative full-LED high-performance headlamps repeat the starry sky motif with numerous lighting points. The daytime running lamps consist of 90 optical fibres with aluminium sleeves, and they are arranged in a wing-shape within the headlamp.

In the interior of the Concept A-Class the eye is immediately drawn to the dashboard, which has the shape of an aircraft wing and a translucent, stretchable textile lining. The enables the bionic, cellular structure of the component to remain visible.

The shape of the air vents in the dashboard is reminiscent of a jet aircraft engine. The prominent displays in the instrument cluster are in red. Their appearance is inspired by the afterburner of a jet engine. The central control unit is designed as a modern flight panel, with the shift lever taking the form of a "reverse thrust control".

A smartphone is fully integrated into the operating concept of the Concept A-Class. All the applications, services and features of a digital lifestyle can therefore be operated via COMAND Online. The visual presentation of the display screen elements is unique and revolutionary. Dynamically varied glass elements are illuminated by magenta-coloured light to form three-dimensionally arranged navigation levels.

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Comments (31)

 Dolomight 74-86 Dolomight 74-86
I love it it kinda reminds me of a better Astra OPC. This is definately an improvement over previous A-Classes. I hope they bring it to Canada.
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April 8, 2011 6:33 pm
 CoyRoy CoyRoy
Now, if only Merc would ACTUALLY build this!! But I guess we'll get another lame-ass toned-down version from the 80's of this....
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April 8, 2011 1:53 pm
 Brakedust Brakedust
Wow! Mercedes-Benz gets radical! Overall, I like this new styling direction very much. The next A-Class promises to be a much more exciting car than the current one. With dual clutch transmissions, powerful and economical engines and stunning interior design, I think this car will sell like hot cakes. What I don't like about it, or indeed about any other current Mercedes-Benz design is the headlight treatment. It is a mess. The C-Class had a beautifully crafted front-end that was royally screwed-up by the facelift. Gordon Wagener, head of design, seems to love these bulbous, oversized glass monstrosities when everyone else is producing much slimmer sleeker more integrated lighting modules. let's hope that the production A-Class sorts it out.
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April 8, 2011 12:50 pm
 Andrei Andrei
the front of the car is the same as the 2011 concept cls ... and if the 2011 cls doesn't look brilliant, than I don't know what words can describe the 5 series GT or the A7. the back looks a little bit like a scirocco and lexus ct ... This car will be amazing . And 2.0T AMG with 340 hp and awd ??? merc is the best car maker ever
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April 8, 2011 10:36 am
 madofmazda madofmazda
I don't think this is an european car...it's like a marriage design of mazda & mercedes...the body lines close to MINAGI..Hmm..
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April 8, 2011 7:32 am
 madofmazda madofmazda
very mazdaish...
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April 8, 2011 7:12 am
 Sacto8780 Sacto8780
I highly doubt Mercedes-Benz will offer the new A-class here unless the fuel economy rules from the EPA demand it. A more likely choice if Mercedes-Benz wants to increase it CAFE is to start selling the B-class here in both four door sedan and five-door hatchback forms, now assembled a M-B's plant in Tuscaloosa, AL.
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April 8, 2011 4:04 am
 Alainckw Alainckw
Wow, will they named it AL-Class in future? This totally different style from the previous A-Class, and of course, this one is brilliant! I really hope the real production model will be exactly same as this concept model.
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April 8, 2011 1:25 am
 danteskov danteskov
This is the first ever premium hot-hatch that I do actually adore!!! Please build this one Mercedes!!!
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April 7, 2011 8:17 pm
 v6s_stink v6s_stink
I must have missed the memo that the team of middle school kids who designed the previous generation of 4Runners was now employed at MB.
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April 7, 2011 6:26 pm
 THERENAISSANCEMAN THERENAISSANCEMAN
concept designer got carried away rather far with his Bangle flame surfacing , side elevation looked like it received several dents along the doorline . also , the large three pointed star grille emblem used to be the exclusive preserve of upper-echelon SL/SLC class of old , now unabashedly applied to both entry-level A and C class automobiles .
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April 7, 2011 5:36 pm
 Tonie Tonie
I think the car looks very sexy, don't think the production version will look that way but overall the shape is good. For people who say the car is ugly, check out the BMW 1 series, or the Audi A1.
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April 7, 2011 2:43 pm
 automobile007 automobile007
I think this is a really great looking car! And Mercedes usually look better in the metal than they do in photos. If the production version looks anything like this I'll be in line to order one! I guess this means that the clay model that was spied recently will be the next B-class, not the A-class as reported
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April 7, 2011 1:32 pm
 cool_vista cool_vista
cool.......brilliant....
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April 7, 2011 12:02 pm
 BrianWCF BrianWCF
2 videos added to article.
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April 7, 2011 9:10 am
 GTurbo GTurbo
And they say Audi and VW have lost their design plot! They will both remain design leaders if this A-class Concept from Mercedes Benz is anything to go by.
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April 7, 2011 8:43 am
 Hellbound Hellbound
Oh, and from certain angles the rear looks like a VW Scirocco. If you're American...you don't get that car so...
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April 7, 2011 8:39 am
 Hellbound Hellbound
I like it. What none of you realise is compared to the outgoing A class, which looks like crap, this is phenomenal! Just build an AMG version with mad sounding exhaust and you'll all change your minds. It will make the RS3 look like a numb plank of wood.
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April 7, 2011 8:38 am
 Gile Gile
I am surprised by this concept from Merc because from the back and especially in the interior it is somehow too Audish...
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April 7, 2011 7:52 am
 M! M!
in their designer video, he claims the crease lines are their "Free Forming". from what i understand, those started by Bangle's "Flame Surfacing". (not that i like bangle's design much).
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April 7, 2011 7:44 am
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