Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a radical overhaul of its A-Class compact at Auto Shanghai.

The German automaker, which announced plans for a new A-Class design earlier this month, said that the new Concept A-Class was "the first heartbeat of a new generation."

It signals a major departure from the boxy outline of the current A-Class, popular in cities because of its small size, in favor of a long hood, low silhouette and more sporty appearance.

Mercedes-Benz design chief Gorden Wagener said that the new look was inspired by "the wind and waves, as well as aviation engineering, resulting in this 'cool' look."

Designed to take on premium urban cars such as the Audi A1 and BMW 1-Series, the redesigned A-Class packs a turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the new M270 series, developing 155 kW with a transmission the automaker says is economical, sporty and comfortable.

With a large panoramic roof, the Concept A-Class is particularly airy, reinforced by the aircraft-inspired interior which has resulted in component groups being reduced to a minimum and a high-tech lining which gives the dash a "free-floating" effect.

A smartphone holder has been integrated into the center console, allowing drivers to operate their handsets from the car's infotainment system designed by Mercedes-Benz technical teams in Silicon Valley (Palo Alto), California.

The addition of a radar-based collision warning system, which warns the driver of a potential collision and primes the brakes, could help to prevent around 20 percent of all rear-end collisions, and mitigate the severity of a further 25 percent, according to the automaker's research.

Auto Shanghai runs April 21-28 in Shanghai, China.

http://www.autoshanghai.org/en/

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