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New Mercedes-Benz A-class – high-tech hatchback prepares for 2018 launch

Jordan Katsianis
12 Dec 2017

We’ve had our first spy shot glimpse at the tech-laden interior of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-class

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The new Mercedes A-class will arrive in 2018 and, thanks to spy shots and official interior images, we already have a very good idea how it will look. The new, modern interior represents a significant step forward over the outgoing model and the exterior images reveal a bold new look for the bodywork of Mercedes’ rival for the BMW 1-series and Audi A3.   

The interior resembles that of larger Mercedes models from which the overall design is drawn, with a few individual touches for the more youthful target market of the A-class. The biggest change over the preceding A-class is the revamped centre console, which ditches the dual-panel, button-heavy layout in favour of the sleek new arrangement featuring two screens – one atop the centre console and the other replacing the conventional instrument cluster.

In the images, the two adjacent, dash-mounted displays held behind a single pane of glass measure 10.25 inches – the larger size option that will be offered on the A-class. Entry-level models will get 7-inch items instead but you will be able to upgrade either screen, or both, to the larger size.

> Audi A3 review

The minimalist design has uncluttered the A-class interior environment creating an altogether cleaner appearance. This has been achieved by building the interior around the digital interface. The adjoining screens are free of any cowling thanks to careful angling and use of anti-glare glass. This has allowed designers to perch them on the metal-trimmed, lower ledge of the dashboard that tapers off at either end into the door inserts.

The three ‘afterburner’ air vents, similar to those on the current A-class, are angled slightly towards the driver’s seat to create a more driver-centric environment. Below them you’ll find the familiar, slimline horizontal row of rocker switches, as seen on other Mercedes cars, sitting just above the point that the entire dash folds back in towards the firewall in a similar fashion that of the current Audi A3.

> Click here for a look at the A-Class Sedan concept from Shanghai

Controlling the two screens are both steering wheel-mounted buttons and a centrally mounted touchpad. This is the first new interior design where Mercedes has removed the traditional click wheel, a design element due to spread across the range.

Part of this new interior’s all round improvement is in the space offered, with the new cabin growing in all directions, including a larger 370-litre boot (an Audi A3’s is 380 litres for reference) as well as a wider opening thanks to new two-piece tail lights that spread onto the tailgate.

As for the exterior, the new A-class will take a majority of its design cues from the A-class saloon concept. As seen in spy shots, the hatch looks to share the current car’s basic aesthetic, only this time adding an extra pinch of aggression to the front end.

Chief among the visual changes is a new down-turned grille that first made its appearance on the facelifted Mercedes-AMG GT. The new grille is now flanked by two slim lighting units that look like they have been taken straight off the A-class saloon concept from earlier in 2017, albeit in entry-level halogen specification here – expect fancier LED units to feature on a majority of models in the UK.

The flanks have a smoother profile than the current car's with the convening character lines giving way to more traditional detailing. The window line looks much the same though, as does the tail, save for some slimmer lights that now spread across onto the tailgate. The new tail lights will also address the issue of a narrow boot opening on the current car, an irritable side-effect of the previous single-piece units.

Mercedes has not given much away when it comes to drivetrains, although we expect a wide range of Mercedes-developed four- and possibly even three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. AMG has also had a big say in this car’s development, with a new-generation A45 AMG ready to retake its crown of being the most powerful hot hatch from the Audi RS3. Rumours also persist of a new, lower powered A40 AMG version deisgned to rival less extreme, but higher selling hot hatch rivals like the Audi S3 and Golf R.

Peer behind the hatch in the pictures and you’ll also see a saloon body style, which as the concept suggested will be available early in the A-class’ model cycle. Mercedes has also been spotted testing a new small saloon-coupe that is not the A-class saloon in these images though, pointing towards the next CLA to be sold alongside, while a new-gen GLA SUV and B-class MPV are also on their way.

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