The secret, says Gorden Wagener, lies in “removing a line”. That’s how the head of Daimler design, speaking of Mercedes-Benz’s new A-class, explains how “sensual purity 2.5” was achieved. This concept has been part of Mercedes’s design development for years: a purity of lines and surfaces that, through the contrast of “hot and cool”, leads to the goal of “modern luxury”. And if the previous A-Class expressed “sensual purity 1.0”, it will be readily understood how far they have come along the road to reach today’s 2.5. “It’s pure, clean, compact, very sexy, and therefore very modern”.
“It represents the evolution of our philosophy”, continues Wagener, “and has the right cards to be able to start a new era in design. With clean shapes and sensual surfaces, we showcase hi-tech and awaken emotions. When ribs and lines are minimised, what remains is form and body”.
Developed on the new MFA platform (the one for front-wheel drives), the new A-Class remains “the lowest and sportiest in its segment”, according to Robert Lesnik, who is responsible for the exteriors, although compared to the previous model it is 12 cm longer: 3 for the wheelbase, 9 for the rear overhang.
He explains that the 55 mm lower bonnet, the big wheels of 660 diameter (the same as the C-Class, enough said), the more vertical A-pillars, the rear lighting units split to permit a wider tailgate, and the painstakingly handled surfaces, mean that even with the new dimensions the car does not lose the sensations that have decreed the model’s success.
Lesnik insists, “We could not afford to lose its character, even if functionality had to be increased to make up for the shortcomings we encountered”. The new muzzle with lighting units characterised by triangular graphics, adds Wagener, “contrast with the soft, clean body”. A restrained cockpit resting on a shoulder that widens at the rear, he adds, “gives it the qualities of a show car”.
The A-Class is a family destined to expand. There were five versions of the old model, the new one will have eight: over the next two years, in addition to an immediate three-box version, we will see the renovated CLA, the CLA Shooting Brake, the GLA, and then a Suv, probably a three-door coupé and who knows what else. Wagener is a master of suspense.
Full article in Auto&Design no. 229