The world was stunned when Mercedes-Benz introduced the A-Class in 1997, which was a more downmarket entry than ever before. Since then, 1.7 million units of the MPV have been sold, and the car has never reached our shores.
It hasn’t been known for being the most stylish vehicle, but Mercedes is hoping to change that. The A-Class Concept at the Shanghai Auto Show is meant to provide a good preview of what to expect from the next-generation production vehicle.
While Audi has brought over the A3 and BMW introduced the 1-Series in the U.S, Mercedes has been content to keep the C-Class as the brand’s entry-level model for now. That could change with the next-generation of the A-Class, however. The wait to introduce in the U.S definitely seems to be worth it.
Look beyond some of the showcar pizzaz and you can see a car that clearly ditches the tall, narrow “Sandwich” design of the current model. Instead, it goes for more traditional hatchback proportions, with an aggressive design that wholeheartedly embraces Mercedes new styling themes.
The all-LED headlights flow into a protrusion for the grille, which is unique for its “starry night” design. Instead of traditional inlets, it utilizes numerous metallic silver hexagons on black stems. It’s a very neat design element we’d like to see make it to production.
Previously, Mercedes styling has been pretty benign. Starting with the redesigned CLS, designs from the brand have been bolder and more defined.
The concept is powered by a new 2.0-liter BlueEFFICIENCY four-cylinder making 210 horsepower. It is mated to Mercedes’ dual-clutch transmission. This engine series is designed to be transverse mounted and is slated to power the Mercedes small car range. Mercedes says the production car will be a technology leader in its class, with segment firsts being a radar-based collision warning system and adaptive Brake Assist.
Mercedes makes it clear the car “previews a new compact class era at Mercedes-Benz.” With an introduction at the New York International Auto Show, it is an era that could finally include the U.S as well. Check out our full gallery below to see what Mercedes has in store for the future of its compact lineup.