Following the CLA-Class’ minor visual update for 2017, a new Mercedes-Benz concept gives us a peek at the future of the compact sedan. The bright red four-door was officially unveiled at the 2017 Shanghai auto show, wearing a new design language previewed by the “Aesthetics A” sculpture that Mercedes unveiled earlier this year.
While this primarily hints at the next CLA-Class, we can expect to see the Concept A’s influence diffuse into the next generation of compact Benzes, including the B-Class and GLA-Class. At 179.9 inches long, 73.6 inches wide, and 57.6 inches tall, the Concept A is slightly shorter, but wider and taller than the CLA.
Like the current CLA-Class, the Concept A Sedan is a swoopy, curvaceous compact, looking more like the bigger CLS-Class sedan than a miniaturized C-Class. Aside from the Panamerica-style front grille lifted from the Mercedes-AMG GT R, the smooth, unbroken lines on the Concept A are mostly original for Mercedes. “Our Concept A Sedan shows that the time of creases is over,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief of Design for Daimler.
It’s a windswept design, cutting as many unnecessary angles and sharp surfaces out as possible. Even the door handles are recessed, much like those on Teslas. The lower front valence is a unique exaggerated piece, giving the side profile a dropped-off point toward the beltline. Fenders are flared slightly, filled by large 20-inch chrome wheels, and overhangs are particularly short, especially in the rear. In contrast, the hood remains relatively long, giving the small concept a GT-like stance.
The headlights are also unique, sporting an interesting “grid” pattern on the inside. The pattern is coated with a special UV paint, and glows when exposed to the built-in UV light projector. The rear taillights are also unique to the concept, featuring a sharp arrow-like design on the inside.
No word yet on what aspects of the Concept A will make it to the production CLA-Class, but it’s likely we’ll see more as the next-generation CLA-Class is unveiled in the near future.