Mercedes-Benz plans to show up at this month’s Shanghai Auto Show with a brand new concept for a spectacular looking A-Class model. While the Concept A-Class is just what its name says it is – a prototype study – it’s also a very good indication of where the company plans to take its BMW 1-Series and Audi A3 rival with the presentation of the next generation model that is scheduled to go on sale in 2012.
For starters, Mercedes is giving up the minivan-like silhouette of the current A-Class for a more dramatic and sporty looking two-box profile with a long bonnet and a low roof-line. The concept’s exterior design details are heavily influenced by Stuttgart’s most recent prototypes such as the CLS Shooting Brake and especially the F800.
Aside from the new nose with a prominent Mercedes grille, the three-door Concept A-Class also features concave surfaces with sweeping lines throughout the body.
Even though it is certain that next year’s production model will drop many of the striking details (just how many remains to be seen) and lose the aggressive proportions of the concept car, the general shape will be maintained.
Inside, the Concept A-Class has individual seating for four and an overly futuristic styling, which of course, will not pass into production. However, certain design elements such as the shape of the air-vents, steering wheel and instruments will inspire the road-going model, which will most likely be offered with a five-seat layout.
Underneath the sheetmetal, the Concept A-Class rides on a new front-wheel drive platform codenamed MFA, which is believed to stand for “Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture”. The prototype is powered by a four-cylinder gasoline unit from Mercedes’ new M270 engine series and combines both direct-injection and turbocharging technology. The Concept A-Class is equipped with the 2.0-litre variant of the new engine, developing 210 hp, with power being transferred to the front wheels through Mercedes-Benz’ new dual clutch transmission.
Other technical highlights include a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist and the daytime running lamps that consist of 90 optical fibres with aluminum sleeves, and are arranged in a wing-shape within the headlamp.
Along with the three-door hatchback previewed by this here concept, Mercedes-Benz officials recently said that the company is planning at least three more variants based on the A-Class’ MFA architecture.