Spy shots confirm that Merc’s new baby will be rakish; 320bhp AMG model planned
5 July 2011

The new Mercedes-Benz A-class hatchback will stay true to the rakish concept shown at the recent Shanghai motor show, judging by these first spy shots of the production car.

Mercedes is turning the new 2012 A-class into a high-quality, sporty mainstream rival for forthcoming BMW 1-series and Audi A3 replacements, leaving the next-gen B-class to fill the role of the small MPV.

Read full review of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The biggest change for the production Mercedes A-class over the three-door Vision A concept is the addition of rear doors. The roadgoing model retains the show car’s narrow glasshouse and sharply raked front windscreen and A-pillars. The roofline is not as steeply angled as the near-coupé-like slant of the concept’s, although it is a world apart from the boxy styling of the previous two A-class models.

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,” he said. “We will make changes to the window line, headlights and grille, but that’s it.”

Mercedes is placing great emphasis on interior quality, with plastics, trim and switchgear borrowed from the C-class.

The new A-class is understood to feature an all-new platform, known as the MFA, with strut front suspension and a multi-link rear.

Power for the new A-class family will initially come from the existing range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines used in the C-class, but modified for a transverse installation.

The core engine will be a 2.0-litre petrol unit, which the Vision A previewed in 204bhp hot hatch form. It will be mated to a dual-clutch gearbox, which replaces the CVT that is used in today’s A-class and B-class. Cooking versions of the petrol model are likely to develop closer to 150bhp.

Diesels will be centred on Merc’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit, with power ranging from 130bhp to 180bhp.

The new A-class and B-class will also be joined by a compact four-door sports saloon, previewed by Merc’s F800 concept.


Mark Tisshaw/Greg Kable


See all the latest Mercedes reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring