Mercedes-Benz has revealed a new concept that previews the radical appearance, stylish interior and altered mechanical layout of its third-generation A class.
Called the Concept A, the hatchback will make its public debut at the Shanghai auto show in China later this month. It hits European showrooms in 2012 and is unlikely to be sold in the United States.
The new A class gets a two-box silhouette similar to that of the Audi A3, the BMW 1 series and the Volkswagen Golf. The current A class has a one-box profile.
Mercedes is relying on the fresh design with its more pronounced nose section, lower roofline and eye-catching detailing to make the entry-premium model more appealing to younger customers.
As part of a major shift, the A class also adopts the heavily sculptured surfacing treatment and other elements seen on a batch of recent Mercedes concepts, including last year's well-received F800 Style.
Prominent features include a so-called soft nose treatment with an oval-shaped grille like that of the range-topping SLS AMG. The look is topped off with an oversized version of Mercedes' three-pointed star, distinctively shaped headlamps with complex LED internal graphics, deep lines running down the flanks, a high waistline, shallow side glass, horizontal tail lamps and an angled tailgate.
While the production version of the new A class set to head into European showrooms next year will not have some of the Concept A's more fanciful detailing, the general shape and appearance is set to remain intact.