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Mercedes F800 and Concept Fascination Prototypes To Reappear as Next-Gen A-Class

All-new look to put smallest Benz in competition with A3 and VW Golf – and bring it to the U.S.

by on Jul.16, 2010

First shown in Paris in 2008, the Mercedes-Benz Concept Fascination will strongly influence the next-generation A-Class, especially the back half.

“Fascinating,” as Mr. Spock might say.  Fascination, we’d correct him.  Or, more precisely, the striking Concept Fascination prototype that drew admiring stares when it made its debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.

A somewhat less exotic version has already appeared in production, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe.  But it seems the show car’s influence is stretching into other designs, sources indicate.  A sort of coupe-wagon crossover, the Fascination strongly influenced another intriguing concept vehicle, this year’s Mercedes-Benz F800 Style.

Blend them together, and they will reappear as the next-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class, due to market roughly two years from now.

The original A-Class was the German maker’s first effort to target the emerging mini-luxury segment.  Short, narrow and tall, it was a bit ungainly, in part because it was conceived as a way to use a variety of different powertrains, possibly even electric drive, key components of which would be mounted below the vehicle’s load floor.

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Moving forward, Mercedes appears to be aiming for something a bit more conventional in overall design, but a replacement A-Class that, nonetheless, wins hearts, minds and pocketbooks with eye-catching good looks and plenty of features, say several company insiders.

The nose of the F800 will reappear on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class, according to sources.

Various unauthorized illustrations now circulating reveal a car about the size of a Volkswagen Golf that boasts the F800’s flattened oval grille and triangular LED headlights, along with the Fascination’s sharp creases and rear kick-up.  Indeed, it looks as if the new A-Class has grafted the front of the coupe-like F800 onto the wagon rear of the Concept Fascination.

A report in the British publication Auto Express, meanwhile, suggests that Mercedes plans to target an array of competitors with the new model, not only luxury small cars, such as the A3 and BMW 1-Series, but also the Golf, the best-selling car in its class, worldwide.

“Our current A-Class and B-Class will be replaced by a new platform for four totally different cars defining new segments for Mercedes,” Dr. Joachim Schmidt, the maker’s global chief of sales and marketing told the British publication.

Separately, Schmidt has told that a total redesign of the A-Class is critical for the maker’s eventual goal of bringing the small model to the United States.

What’s not clear is which version will make it to the States, as Mercedes will offer the next A-Class in both 3- and 5-door configuration.  An array of gasoline and diesel engine powertrains will be available for various markets.  Though Mercedes is pushing hard to build demand for its clean BlueTec diesel technology, however, it’s uncertain it will try to market an A-Class oil-burner in the U.S. because the hefty price premium for the technology could make it uncompetitive.

Also uncertain is whether the next-gen Mercedes A-Class will feature an electric drivetrain, a power source the German marque is seriously developing for many of its other product lines.  Almost certainly, however, it would offer some micro-hybrid technology, such as engine Stop/Start.

Earlier this year, Mercedes’ parent, Daimler AG, entered into a controversial partnership with the Renault/Nissan Alliance.  At the time, it was noted the French/Japanese pair would assist in the development of future Mercedes small vehicles, as well as the next-generation of Daimler’s Smart brand products.  It is unclear what, if any roll Renault and Nissan are playing in the development of the 2013 Mercedes A-Class.

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