Mercedes-Benz debuts tablet-packing A-Class concept, which have some interesting looking LED headlights and an inverted mesh grill on the outside, and on the inside it’s packing a rather futuristic display, complete with a dash-mounted tablet and what looks to be an iPhone protruding from the center console.Now there is no guarantee that this thing will get the E-Cell treatment or that all the bells and whistles will make it to production………..
A conceptual forerunner of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class compact due in 2012 will be introduced concurrently at the 2011 New York and Shanghai auto shows.Company executives previously have hinted that the next A-Class might come to the U.S. and the choice of New York as a joint introductory venue with Shanghai supports that notion.The exterior design of the Concept A-Class looks dramatically different from that of the current production model, which is not marketed in North America. The latter was designed originally with a unique “sandwich” platform that was engineered to accommodate a variety of drivetrains, including a pure electric system. The next-generation A-Class, as embodied in the concept, shifts to a more conventional transverse front-wheel-drive layout.Powering the concept is a four-cylinder gasoline engine from the automaker’s M270 BlueEfficiency family. The engine is a 210-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline direct-injection unit, driving the front wheels through a dual-clutch transmission.
Benz’s first preview of its next-gen small cars came via the F800 Style concept and this A-class concept moves the design language one step closer to reality. Still, despite this car’s connection to an actual future product, don’t expect everything from the concept on the stand in New York to be duplicated in production.Among the A-class’s pure auto-show fantasies: the LED-lit turn signals delicately integrated into the sliver of a mount for the side-view mirrors and the star-filled sky pattern on the grill and lower air dam. The same can be said for the wheels—very cool, but very much not happening.The Concept A-Class also features a radar-based collision warning system that provides visual and acoustic warnings to the driver and is bundled with adaptive brake assist to help reduce the risk of a rear-end collision.In addition to LED headlamps and fiber-optic daytime running lamps, the concept adds an integrated smartphone, with functions displayed as 3D apps and operated by the car’s rotary/push controller.
Other aspects of the concept’s design are no less bold—but more realistic. The prominent strake starting behind the front wheel and sweeping up to the top of the rear fender is abrupt; it could be toned down for the real deal, and the same goes for the AMG-esque hood strakes. The elegant side-window profile recalls those on several Mercedes coupes and the ginormous headlights which here are illuminated by LEDs and integrate fiber-optic daytime running lights, are straight outta the CLS.Both the current, second-gen A-class and its predecessor were front-wheel drive, and the next A will be no different. The concept packs a transversely mounted 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood it’s turbocharged and direct-injected and Mercedes says it’s good for 210 hp. The engine is from the automaker’s newest family of four-bangers. It’s hooked to a new dual-clutch transmission, and though the company is mum on its number of gears or provenance, we’d guess that it has at least seven cogs.Unlike previous A-classes, however, this model and its spin-offs—more on those below—will sit much closer to the ground. The first two A-class generations had a sandwich floor meant to accommodate the batteries for an electric-drive system. It never happened in much volume some 500 A-class E-cells were leased—but the layout meant that even the conventionally powered cars looked like mini MPVs. As the new A-class concept demonstrates, the dorky upright look will be reserved for the B-class, while the A is more reminiscent of Volkswagen’s racy Euro-market Scirocco.
By concept-car standards, the A-class’s interior is fairly conventional. The dashboard is said to be inspired by an airplane wing, and is covered in fabric rather than plastic or wood. The dash’s three glowing knobs, high-mounted multimedia display, and aircraft-themed switches and vents are surprisingly reminiscent of the interior in Audi’s recently unveiled A3 sedan concept. The timing is such that there’s no way Mercedes knocked off the A3 and there’s German pride beyond that but it’s got to be an unhappy coincidence for Stuttgart nonetheless.The integrated display centralizes all of the car’s various secondary controls into one place, and arranges them like smartphone apps. Mercedes also touts the A-class concept’s radar-based collision warning and Adaptive Brake Assist, the former warning drivers of an impending crash with audio and visual alarms, and the latter engaging the full force of the brakes if it detects the driver isn’t applying enough pedal pressure to avoid or mitigate an expected collision.As we already know, the next-gen A-class platform will underpin a hatch like this, a four-door sedan that would mimic the styling of the CLS and a baby crossover (perhaps called the GLC, a name for which Mercedes recently filed a U.S. trademark application). We also know that AMG’s chief has hinted several times that he and his team would be interested in hot-rodding the next A-class and if so, a 300-plus-hp variant could be squaring off against an Audi S3 in a 2014 issue of car and driver.