Mercedes’ all-new A-class hatchback will stay true to the rakish concept at the recent Shanghai motor show, judging by these exclusive first spy shots of the production car.
The German luxury giant is turning the new 2012 A-class into a high-quality, sporty mainstream rival for forthcoming BMW 1-series and Audi A3 replacements.
Spied here in testing in Europe, the biggest change for the production A-class over the three-door Vision A concept is the addition of rear doors.
The production A-class retains the concept’s narrow glasshouse and sharply raked front windscreen and A-pillars. The roofline is not as sharply raked as the near-coupe-like angle of the concept’s, although it is a world apart from the boxy styling of the previous two A-classes from Mercedes.
The role of the current A-class as a spacious, yet compact family car in the Mercedes’ line-up will be filled by the all-new B-class. This is a much more familiar monobox and will share its front-drive underpinnings with the A-class.
At the Shanghai show, Mercedes design chief Gorden Wagener described the Vision A concept as “realistic” next to the production car. “Obviously the real thing is a five-door and we will make changes to the window line, headlights and grille, but that’s it,” he said.
Emphasis has also been placed on interior quality, with the new A-class featuring plastics, trim and switchgear borrowed from the C-class.
Wagener also promised that build quality would be much improved over the current cars, promising that “the quality of materials and fit and finish will be above the current C-class”.