Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class hatches ahead of New York and Shanghai

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nearly four years ago, we heard rumors that Mercedes-Benz was considering dropping the diminutive A-class from its lineup. Oh, how times have changed. The German automaker is prepping an all-new A-class (M270), and we're now able to get some insight into what it will look like courtesy of the Concept A.

The Mercedes-Benz Concept A is a stylized version of the upcoming 2012 A-Class. Falling in line with the rest of the family, its squared-off nose is aggressive and wears the Tri-Star emblem well. From the side, the Concept A shows hints of the CLS and even the R-Class. Though most of the swoopy lines seen above are concept-cool, we expect the production A-Class to to share lots of design notes with the Concept A. Yet we doubt the star-filled nighttime sky grille will make the cut.

A front-wheel-drive Benz, the Concept A benefits from both turbocharging and direct-injection. A BlueEFFICIENCY 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is fitted under the hood, and produces 210-horsepower. That four-banger is paired with a dual-clutch transmission.

More than a styling and propulsion exercise, the Concept A aims to add first-rate features to luxury compact segment. A radar-based collision-detection system will be the first of its kind in this segment and, when paired with Adaptive Brake Assist, can help lower the risk of having someone rear-end your 2012 A-Class.

We'll get to see this concept car in person when it debuts at the 2011 New York Auto Show. Mercedes is also bringing the Concept A to the Shanghai Motor Show, but we take it as a good sign for the car's chances in the U.S. that the concept is being shown in the Big Apple. Until we can bring you live images, the gallery below will have to do. Be sure to click past the jump for the full press release.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Concept
Mercedes-Benz A-Class Concept
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[Source: Mercedes-Benz]
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World premiere at the New York Auto Show
Mercedes Concept A-Class: the beginning of a new compact generation

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.

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.

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