Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class virtually identical to the final production version

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 27, 2011

Mercedes-Benz’s design director, Gorden Wagener, said that Mercedes’ Vision A concept is virtually identical to the final production version that’s expected to arrive next year. He told Autocar that what they’re showing is “realistic.” He said that a five-door is “obviously the real thing” but the changes will only be limited to the window line, headlights and grille. Wagener said that the car will keep its rakish roofline and the basic elements like the large display screen and ‘jet turbine’ air vents.

But it’s to be expected that the outlandish details in its interior will be taken out. Wagener also said that the build quality will represent a significant improvement over the current cars.

Specifically, he said that the fit, the finish, and the quality of the materials will be better than those of the current C-class. It’s likely that the A-class will be the first production car to be able to download apps, enabling car owners to upgrade infotainment technology.

Powering the Vision A show car is a 210bhp, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine that’s coupled to a new dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox. Merc technical boss Thomas Weber said that all of the A-class’s petrol powerplants would be turbos from the new lineup of transverse engines, of varying capacities.

The dual-clutch ’box is named as an optional extra, while a manual is standard. A conventional automatic gearbox option will be available. In addition, stop-start will be offered as standard on all variants.

Mercedes-Benz is currently following a new design language where one of the major features is the animated interplay of the surfaces and the lines. This is what designers call as the "clean" Concept. Due to the convex and concave surfaces, this helps give it that distinct sculpture-like presence, especially with the light modulation. The A-Class Concept continues to follow this particular them of interacting surfaces and defined edges.

This is the same theme that was first displayed by the brand with the F800 Style. Defining its side view are the three prominent lines. While the structural edge on the front shapes the dropping line to the back, its pronounced shoulder goes over its rear axle and thus highlights the coupé-like characteristic of this model. The line goes even further upward towards the front part of the rear wheel arch which forms a sweeping curve. As such, the lines give the side profile that dynamism and depth.

Though the door handles may have been recessed to the doors, they can appear by simply pressing a button which controls it electronically. Meanwhile the exterior mirrors have a wing-like structure which hints at the lightness and flow. Its open side skirt, another highlight of this model, gives off that unlikely light-and-shadow effect. Much like a turbine rotor, the 20-inch wheels strengthen the idea that this A-Class Concept may have been formed by none other than the wind. If that’s not enough, the front portion is a true eye-catcher as well.

The brand’s logo is still present but now has the appearance of being surrounded by a starry sky. The louvres, or apertures, are not utilized and instead the radiator grille has various black stems with metallic silver dots on them. This theme can also be observed on how the wheels have been designed. Its rear portion has been made visually wide and projects athleticism and power. This is then brightened up by the interaction between the more pronounced edges and the concave/convex surfaces. The lines that are on the muscular shoulders continue to the rear through the tail light clusters.

This helps in highlighting just how wide the model is when it comes to horizontal orientation. While the diffuser in the rear generates the needed downforce to help in roadholding, the spoiler lip placed in the tail lights helps with aerodynamics and thus improves efficiency. When it comes to the interior, the addition of a panoramic roof helps it become flooded with natural light. It also gives an alien-like appearance to the Mercedes A-Class Concept’s interior.

There are also some unusual features on the interior that not only echo the ideas on the interior sculpture of the Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics No. 2, as there are also some that are clearly based on aircraft engineering. Certain component groups have been reduced as well to a minimum. Take the center console and the dashboard for example. Since both are simply brushed aluminum structures, this gives it a bionic, light, and transparent effect.

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