Previews Merc’s competitor for the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 sedans

Mercedes-Benz was quite the busy bee at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, where it unveiled three updated cars, the S-Class, AMG S63, and AMG S65. But, the German firm also showcased a concept, one that may open the door to a new niche. I’m talking about the Concept A Sedan, which provides "an outlook of the next generation of compact vehicles and a potential new body type." In short, Mercedes is considering a sedan version of the A-Class.

Surprisingly enough for a brand that created quite a few niches, most notably with the CLA and CLS four-door coupes, Mercedes is behind the competition when it comes to sedans based on compact hatchbacks. While Audi has been selling the A3 Sedan since 2013 and BMW introduced the 1 Series Sedan in China in 2017, Mercedes has yet to create a sedan version of the A-Class. But it seems the folks over in Stuttgart want to change that, and the A-Class sedan could become a reality with the next-generation model in a couple of years.

Continue reading for the full story.

Exterior

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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As with most concept cars, the Concept A Sedan is somewhat futuristic compared to the current-generation A-Class.

As with most concept cars, the Concept A Sedan is somewhat futuristic compared to the current-generation A-Class. The front bumper and grille are indeed familiar, especially when compared to newer Mercedes cars, but the headlamps and the engine hood are significantly more aggressive and seem to take inspiration from the AMG GT sports car.

Around back, there a very short deck lid, which is typical to compact sedans, a sharp spoiler, and angular taillights that become thinner toward the license plate recess. The bumper is fairly simple and includes a diffuser-like element with chrome inserts. Overall, I’d say that the rear end of the Concept A Sedan is a modernized version of the current CLA. Onto the sides, the four-door is very clean with smooth character line and almost invisible pillars.

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan Exterior AutoShow High Resolution
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2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan Exterior AutoShow High Resolution
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All told, the show car probably previews the design of the upcoming A-Class hatchback and not just a smaller-than-CLA production sedan.

All told, the show car probably previews the design of the upcoming A-Class hatchback and not just a smaller-than-CLA production sedan. On the other hand, I don’t expect the UV-treated headlamps, which "glow" in different colors depending on light, to become a production feature.

Mercedes-Benz was also kind enough to release exterior specs, so we can get a good idea as to how large it is. At 179.9 inches long and 73.6 inches wide, it’s almost 11 inches longer and 3.5 inches wider than the current A-Class hatchback. Compared to the CLA, it’s only three inches shorter, but 3.5 inches wider. Not surprisingly, it slots right below the CLA, but a similar length could work as an A-Class sedan will be sold as a conventional four-door rather than a coupe.

Interior

2016 Mercedes-Benz A-Class High Resolution Interior
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Note: Current A-Class interior shoen here.

There are no photos of the interior, and judging by the tinted glass, it’s safe to assume that Mercedes didn’t put too much effort into that. And if this concept has an interior, it could be anything behind the blacked-out windows, from the same layout as the current A-Class or a more futuristic version that Mercedes doesn’t want us to see yet. One thing is certain though, this concept has to provide more legroom for rear passengers compared to the A-Class hatchback.

Drivetrain

Likewise, there’s no word as to what lurks under the hood, but at this point it doesn’t matter really. Mercedes would have surely mentioned it if it was working on a hybrid or electric drivetrain for the A-Class and the absence of such a detail means that the compact will continue to feature gasoline and diesel powerplants. Until further notice, it’s safe to assume that the A-Class sedan will borrow its engine lineup from the next-generation hatchback.

Conclusion

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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To be honest, I can’t say I’m impressed with this concept. It’s modern and previews a good looking design language, but it’s far from groundbreaking. And given that production models are usually toned down version of their concepts, the next A-Class will be of the evolutionary variety and far from outstanding. Of course, the big news here is that this show car previews a sedan, which means Mercedes-Benz is finally ready to step into a new niche. But it remains to be seen if the A-Class Sedan will be a global vehicle or a China-only offering.

  • Leave it
    • * Not much is known about it
    • * No official confirmation
    • * Production model could be a China-only car

Press Release

With the Concept A Sedan at the Shanghai Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz is providing an outlook of the next generation of compact vehicles and a potential new body type.

The Concept A Sedan show car specifies the evolved Mercedes-Benz design language. Thanks to its purist, surface-focused design featuring reduced lines and gaps, the show car is hot and cool at the same time. The "Aesthetics A" sculpture already demonstrated that the upcoming compact class generation marks the dawn of an even more rigorous implementation of the design idiom of "sensual purity."

"Our Concept A Sedan shows that the time of creases is over," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG. "With its perfect proportions and a sensual treatment of surfaces with reduced lines, it is the next milestone of ’Sensual Purity’ and has the potential to introduce a new design era."

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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The current compact vehicle generation is contributing to Mercedes-Benz’s most successful and rejuvenated model lineup ever and helped to make 2016 the sixth year of record sales in succession. More than two million Mercedes-Benz compact vehicles have been sold around the globe since 2012. In addition to the contemporary design language, innovative assistance systems, connectivity and driving pleasure, model variety is a crucial factor for success: with the A and B-Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, as well as the SUV crossover GLA, five differently positioned variants are available globally (B-Class, CLA and GLA variants available in the U.S. market).

"Their success shows that our customers are absolutely delighted with the current generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars," says Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. "We are therefore extremely confident that the planned expansion will lead to a continuation of this success story."

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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The Concept A Sedan: study of a compact premium sedan

The Concept A Sedan (length/width/height: 179.9"/73.6"/57.6") has been designed with the proportions of a dynamic, coupe-like and simultaneously compact, premium sedan. This aim is emphasized by the traditional three-box design featuring short overhangs, especially at the rear, as well as a slim greenhouse that has been offset towards the rear. Additional sedan characteristics are the relatively vertical C-pillar, larger side windows and higher beltline.

The muscular wheel arch design featuring a reduced arch dimension emphasizes the exclusive 20-inch wheels. The light alloy wheels radiate technical precision with their sporty look that features a structured surface between the spokes. The door handles of the show car are flush with the body, while the outside mirrors, are positioned on the Concept A Sedan’s beltlines.

The striking front expresses self-confidence: this is highlighted by the deep Panamericana grille tilted towards the front, featuring vertical chrome inserts and a star in the center, as well as the stretched hood with Powerdomes. The large, lower air inlet featuring a diamond grid structure and a striking trim strip in dark chrome is also amongst the most eye-catching features.

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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The unique headlamps are a unique feature of the brand and the striking grid structure on the inside of the headlamp guarantees a confident, easy-to-recognize look. The structural sculpture that has been broken down in detail represents a technically based counterpole to the sensual exterior – "stimulating contrast" is one of the six guiding principles of Mercedes-Benz design. The grid structure in the lamps has been coated with a UV paint and it is exposed to ultraviolet light. As a result, the headlamps "glow" in different colors, depending on the light medium – the daytime running lamps, for instance, are white.

This unique lighting technology is also used at the rear: The striking taillamps have been designed as structural sculptures. In line with the evolved design philosophy, the lines and gaps at the rear have been reduced. As a contrast to the paintwork, the rear bumper features a diffuser-look lower part trimmed in black with a chrome strip that emphasizes the car’s width, underscoring the car’s premium appeal. The integrated exhaust deflectors are finished in dark chrome. Additional features of the roadworthy show car are dark tinted windows all-round as well as a large, panoramic glass roof.

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