GRR

Mercedes-Benz Concept A saloon revealed

17th April 2017
Bob Murray

If you thought car designers were going overboard in recent years for body creases, take heart: you are not alone. Mercedes-Benz design boss Gorden Wagener thinks the same. 

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“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. 

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A long wheelbase with short overhangs, pushed-back cabin, high waistline, slender windows to visually lengthen the car and relatively upright C-pillar all give a dynamic twist to the three-box shape, the most conventional – and often the most boring – of design formats. Details like the flush door handles, new mirrors and “technical” look 20-inch alloys are distinctive touches, too.

In any case, plainness is hardly an option when the front end is so completely dominated by the Panamericana grille reprised so successfully from the ‘50s SL road racers to distinguish all the latest AMG models. And in case you don’t go for the Hannibal Lecter look performance credentials are also firmly established by powerdomes on the bonnet. 

“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,” Gorden Wagener says.

A future crease-free design direction for Mercedes cars starts with this car. 

  • Mercedes-Benz

  • Concept A Sedan

  • Shanghai 2017

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