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Mercedes Benz: Concept A (Plus)

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On: Thu, May 5, 2011 at 9:10AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Mercedes Benz:  Concept A (Plus)

Mercedes has made a big splash by unveiling its diminutive new Concept A to the auto show circuit. With the understanding that the Smart Car is not exactly a luxury compact, the German automaker is setting its sights on the smaller, luxury segment.  

 Although obviously a concept car, the Concept A is a hint at the upcoming new A-Class to come out next year. The front-driver will likely sport a blown 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that will put down a little more than 200 horsepower (which is about 20 ponies over the latest European model). Don't be surprised to see a seven-speed automatic attached to this little car. Mercedes just recently developed the new dual-clutch transmission for the C-Class and mounted it to, among other choices, a 1.8-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that makes 201-hp and 229-lb-ft of torque. That combo might just show up in the very near future. There is no talk of a hybrid or electric model just yet.  

The car itself has smooth concept car lines that we hope translate to the production model. It looks like an SLS that has been cut just aft of the front doors and then sewn up and smoothed over with a hatchback. The big open-mouth grille and slanted headlights pay homage to the aforementioned SLS, while the slanted windshield, high door sills, and rear quarter window hint at the new E-Class. Make no mistake, the car works. Expect the production car to seat five (although only four seats made it to the concept).

The A-Class will focus on luxury in a smaller package, so keep an eye out for fun gadgets like Adaptive High-beam assist, Attention Assist, Parktronic Lane Assist, and Blind Spot Assist to give the A-Class a leg up on competition from cars like the Mini Cooper.

Even though this is the third generation of the A-Class, the Concept A is making its rounds throughout the country and could be the harbinger for the new model, assuming feedback is positive (which we are pretty sure it will be). Bringing the A-Class to the shores of the United States will obviously not only benefit in terms of profit for the luxury automaker, but you can bet that Mercedes has its sights set on meeting CAFE regulations scheduled to go into effect very soon, and a very tiny car that gets very good mileage is bound to reduce Mercedes' average emissions.

That being said, with gas prices not slated to go down... ever... a luxury car that gets 30+ miles per gallon might just herald in a new wave of luxury automobile, depending on how things turn out. For such a little car, the Concept A has a lot riding on its little tires, but with any luck the production version will be just as much substance as it is style.

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