Mercedes-Benz has endowed its new A class five-door hatchback with a sportier and more conventional design that may correspond to a desertion of the outgoing model's peculiar one-box styling. Dimension-wise, the new A class is 160mm lower than previous model launched in 1997. Mercedes expects the change in styling to attract more customers in the premium compact segment that is controlled by the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series.
The A class is based on the Mercedes Front Wheel Architecture (MFA) that will eventually underpin five more variants, including the B-class that is currently on the market. Mercedes-Benz is planning to build a coupe-styled small four-door crossover patterned after the CLS, and unconfirmed cabrio.
According to Jorg Prigl, Daimler's vice president of compact cars, components shared between Mercedes vehicles will allow the carmaker to make a profit. He remarked that the A class and the B class share some 80 percent of their components, most of which cannot be seen by customers. The A class features a conventional exterior and a fit-and-finish interior.
It also boasts of an infotainment screen mounted at the center and is not anymore using a wood trim, giving it a touch of modernity. Although the A-class offers a cabin space typical for a premium compact, it offers more legroom than the 1 series, due to the less tunnel incursion on the floor of the rear passenger area. However, visibility on the A class is not so good, due to small rear window and large C pillars.
It also has a boot that is less roomy than those of rival models. Mercedes will offer the new A class in three optional styling packages: Urban, Style and AMG Sport. What is more interesting is that Mercedes-Benz expects to sell lots of A-Class models and 50% of the customers will be new to the brand. Moreover, the German manufacturer expects to increase its sales by 4 million units in the next 10 years, helped by markets such as China and Eastern Europe.
The new Mercedes A-Class features an exterior that is distinguished by tight surfaces and well-defined edges as well as concave and convex surfaces which interact and result to a distinct play of light and shade.
Up front, the new Mercedes A-Class features a double-slat radiator grille with a centrally positioned Mercedes star. This elegant grille is flanked on the sides by V-shaped headlight units as well as extra air intakes. The design and functional configurations of these headlight units lend the new Mercedes A-Class a classy yet dynamic appearance. For instance, the arrangement of the light modules and light emitting diode units just behind the cover glass creates the so-called "flare effect" for the daytime driving lights and indicators.
This distinct "flare" is the result of the DRL’s LED modules, the bulb sets for the indicators and the feature line within the headlamp. Ultimately, this configuration results to a signature effect that makes the new Mercedes A-Class look fresh and dynamic. Dissipating towards the front end of the new A-Class is the so-called "dropping line" seen on the side profile.
When viewed from the sides, the new Mercedes A-Class reveals a sharp profile defined by its dynamically designed and aerodynamically engineered roof, as complemented by its smooth surfaces, arching curves and flowing lines. The roof features a spoiler that conceals all the aerials while making the new Mercedes A-Class look sportier. In addition, the new Mercedes A-Class features a beltline rising to the rear, thereby forming a pronounced wedge-shape. This beltline is complemented by crisp lines as well as molded sculptural side panels.