This year's LA Auto Show is still a whole week away, but Mercedes Benz has already started a teasing campaign regarding the new A-Class -- a car that won't be revealed until the 2018 Geneva motor show in March.
Deciding to start such a campaign so early may raise eyebrows. But the reason that Mercedes on Thursday released the first information and images regarding its smallest model's completely redesigned interior is because they are all about refinement, luxury and next-generation creature comforts -- themes that will be at the forefront of this year's LA Show.
The original A Class, launched in 1997, sold in huge numbers. Yet, it was viewed by many as a more affordable way for consumers to own something with a 3-pointed star adorning its grille. However, times, tastes, and ways of life are changing and today people choose a compact car because they live in an increasingly compact environment, not because they have a more compact wallet.
Therefore, subsequent generations have been driving slowly upmarket and by the time the new model is officially launched, Mercedes is suggesting that its smallest car will have arrived at the summit of luxury and will be just as big on technology, driver aids and refinements as its flagship S-Class models.
"The new A-Class embodies the next stage in our design philosophy," said Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG. "The interior presents modern luxury at a level previously unattainable in this class, and transports the user interface into the digital age."
Indeed, the new car shares not just the multi-function massaging seats and clever steering wheel found in the S-Class, it also has the same multiscreen infotainment and digital dashboard setup, but it takes the idea even further.
"The interior of the new A-Class is a major step towards the avant-garde," said Hartmut Sinkwitz, Head of Interior Design. "[This] is the first series-production model to dispense completely with a classic cockpit shroud. This literally places the large widescreen cockpit with its bonded glass technology in the forefront."
Mercedes believes that all of this investment in making the interior a work of digital art will be a unique selling point for the car when competing for sales with the BMW 1 Series or Audi A3, especially because the A-Class has proven to be the perfect way of winning a new, younger clientele. In Europe an A-Class owner is 13 years younger than for any other Mercedes model. Meanwhile in China, where the car is available in hatchback and sedan variants, one in three owners is under 30.