The next A-Class will be creaseless
Ignore the China-friendly notchback design... this is your preview of an entire small Merc family
Doesn’t Mercedes ever take a day of? This is the Mercedes Concept A. Revealed at the Shanghai show, it previews Merc’s “next generation of compact vehicles”, which means that with subtly diferent roof, ride height and boot treatments, this is more or less what the next CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, GLA, B-Class and A-Class will look like when they’re launched in a couple of years’ time. Although this actually previews an additional member of the small car family – the A-Class saloon. Think CLA, but more upright, more spacious, more... sensible. A traditional three-box sedan. Thinking it’s a niche too far? You’re not alone.
It’s the latest implementation of Mercedes’ Sensual Purity design language. Exactly what that means we’re not sure, but if you like your cars sensual and pure and without a crease in sight... you’re in luck. Merc chief design ofcer Wagener says: “Our Concept A Sedan shows that the time of creases is over. With its perfect proportions and a sensual treatment of surfaces with reduced lines, the Concept A has the potential to introduce a new design era.” Blimey.
The show car is 4,570mm long, 1,870mm wide and 1,462mm tall, making it shorter, wider and taller than the existing CLA. The wheels are 20s (which “radiate technical precision”, apparently) and there’s the Panamerica grille as featured on the AMG GT R supercar. It’s all very high-end stuf for what (Smart ForTwo not withstanding) will be the entry point for Mercedes ownership, but then concept cars are born to push the boundaries. Expect full-fat AMG versions to closely resemble this, and lesser variants to make do with smaller wheels and a more modest grille.
Merc hasn’t given us any technical details – as it’s a concept, it may not even have an engine – but it does make a pretty big deal of the headlights and tail-lights, which feature a special UV coating on their complex internal structure. So, depending on which lights you have on at the time, they glow in an array of diferent colours. This won’t further the human race, but it does look cool.
Merc is planning to replace all its current small car family, and add two new body styles to the line-up by 2020. This is one; the other is anyone’s guess. But why such an emphasis on small? Because it has sold more than two million compact cars since 2012, contributing to six years of growth on the bounce. It’s all
about keeping that ball rolling.
Glow in the dark headlights. Hmmm, chocolate teapot springs to mind...