“The time of creases is over,” asserts Wagener, whose stewardship of Mercedes design has seen the three-pointed star overtake BMW as the world’s biggest premium car brand – largely on the back of sportier, younger styling and a burgeoning range of SUVs.
Up to now, Mercedes has achieved that younger look by doing as much as anyone to develop the highly sculptural body shapes and “feature” lines that dominate today. But now the creases are being ironed out, as previewed by the firm’s latest concept car, unveiled today (April 18th) at the Shanghai Motor Show.
Meet the Concept A Sedan show car. Its significance for us in Europe is not so much that it is the first three-box A-Class – the Chinese market loves booted saloons like this – but far more that the body surfaces are largely without the creases, slashes, cuts and lines that we have come to expect. The main sole feature line now is along the sills.
All a bit plain then? Well, it might be but for proportions that, from pictures at least, make it difficult to tell what size this four-door sedan is. In isolation, it could be an S-Class. In fact, at 4570mm long it is 116mm (almost 5ins) shorter than the C-Class, previously the most compact Mercedes saloon.