Described as being a “vision of a saloon car in the compact car segment,” the Aesthetics A sculpture is effectively Mercedes’ way of saying it will launch an A-Class Sedan in a few years. It confirms a couple of rumors about the company’s plan to introduce a new compact sedan joining the CLA “four-door coupe.” Expected to arrive towards the end of 2018, the first-ever A-Class Sedan will adopt a new design language created for the next-gen compact model range.
Mercedes believes “creases have had their day,” which is why the Aesthetics A proposes a smoother exterior design “stripping everything down to the essentials” by reducing creases and lines as much as possible. Based on what we’re seeing in the adjacent images, future compact models from Mercedes will adopt just one prominent character line stretching on the entire side profile. Also noticeable is the Panamericana front grille featuring vertical slats in the same vein as the refreshed AMG GT family, while at the back there’s a subtle lip on the trunk lid.
The new styling language will be implemented in the next iterations of the A-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, GLA and the B-Class, as well as possibly two additional new members besides the A-Class Sedan. One of them might be a GLB, a new crossover set to be positioned between the GLA and the GLC. The new high-riding vehicle will allegedly be engineered to accommodate a long wheelbase for a more spacious seven-seat variant, which will primarily target China. The A-Class Sedan itself is expected to spawn a LWB model for the People’s Republic and rumor has it the new compact sedan will actually be previewed by a concept in April at Auto Shanghai.
All of these compact cars will ride on the second generation of Mercedes’ Modular Front Architecture (MFA) set to bring a weight loss among other improvements. The A-Class hatchback will be the first model to benefit from the tweaked underpinnings and it will likely be unveiled at some point in 2018.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics A Sculpture
Sculpture “Aesthetics A”: A study in proportions
Creases have had their day. The Design team’s “ Aesthetics A” sculpture presents the vision of a saloon car in the compact car segment which has been radically stripped down to the essential body. It also provides a clear indication of how the design philosophy of Sensual Purity will be manifested in the not too distant future.
In applying the design philosophy of Sensual Purity, with the current A-Class Mercedes‑Benz initiated a design shift whose formative influence was to extend beyond the brand itself.
The “Aesthetics A” sculpture embodies the advancement of the Mercedes‑Benz design idiom. It focuses on stripping everything down to the essentials, underscoring this with emotional highlights. “ Form and body are what remain when creases and lines are reduced to the extreme. We have the courage to apply this purism”, says Design head Gorden Wagener. “In combination with perfect proportions and sensual surface design, the upcoming generation of the compact class has the potential to herald a new design era”.
Instead of modifying the basic form with lines, the Mercedes‑B enz designers use dynamic surfaces positioned at an angle to one another to contour the body through the use of light and shade and to emphasize the proportions. This makes the essence of a body visible and communicates it in a credible way. The expressive and confident red as a new signature Mercedes‑Benz colour underscores the sensuality and emotion of the sculpture.
The concentration on proportions and form also requires special work methods. “At the beginning of the process our work is comparable to that of sculptors”, explains Wagener. “The classic techniques still form the core of our creative work. The clay model plays a central role here: one can’t carry out a final assessment of a design on a computer, because a screen is two-dimensional, while a car is three-dimensional”.
“Aesthetics A” has a 3-box design, marking a departure in the direction of new markets for the compact class. Outside of Germany and Europe, classic saloons are still much in demand in this segment.
The “Aesthetics A” sculpture is a continuation of a series of sculptures from Mercedes‑Benz which to date comprises the “ Aesthetics No. 1” (2010), “Aesthetics No. 2”, “Aesthetics 125” (both 2011) and “Aesthetics S” (2012).