Shark noses, bobtails and windswept: What people think of Mercedes Concept A Sedan

Crossovers and SUVs might be selling in droves from China to the U.S., but Mercedes-Benz is still experimenting with cars, as seen with the Concept A Sedan at the Shanghai auto show in April. Mercedes says the concept hints at another model in its compact car lineup and previews a new design language for the brand. Here’s what some journalists are saying about the Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan:

“The Concept A Sedan looks closest to the CLA-Class, thanks to its sedan body and coupe-like rear end. The original CLA is pretty angular, but this concept takes it to another level with significantly more straight lines in the lighting structures. Yet, at the same time, it's smoother than other models, with a reduction in the number of visible creases across the body.

“Its thin headlights and low hood remind me of the AMG GT Concept sedan, which is not a bad thing at all. It probably won't pack 800 horsepower like the super-sedan concept, but hey, small cars require some sacrifice.”

-- Andrew Krok, Roadshow by CNET

“Overall, the strength of this concept lies in the very satisfying proportions. It feels similar, proportionally, to other well-designed small cars from companies like Alfa Romeo, or even some of Mercedes’ own ’60s-era prototypes. They’ve got a nice long hood-short deck setup, and they’ve resisted the urge to cut the greenhouse height down to absurd levels.

“They’re proportions that you don’t really see all that often anymore; in some ways, it reminds me a bit of what I liked about BMW’s first-gen 1 Series.”

-- Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik

“At 180.0 inches long, the Concept A is 2.3 inches shorter than the swoopy CLA. Mercedes offered no details about platform, powertrain, or anything else under the skin, but the long front overhang and proximity of the front wheel arch to the front door strongly suggest that the next A-class models will retain their transverse-engine layouts, with front- or all-wheel drive. The sharklike nose and bobtail rear give a subtle forward thrust to the Concept A, accentuated by stern-looking triangular headlamps with a glowing internal lattice structure that almost certainly won’t make it to production.”

-- Steve Siler, Car and Driver

“It’s a windswept design, cutting as many unnecessary angles and sharp surfaces out as possible. Even the door handles are recessed, much like those on Teslas. The lower front valence is a unique exaggerated piece, giving the side profile a dropped-off point toward the beltline. Fenders are flared slightly, filled by large 20-inch chrome wheels, and overhangs are particularly short, especially in the rear. In contrast, the hood remains relatively long, giving the small concept a GT-like stance.”

-- Conner Golden, Automobile

“We don’t think the current CLA looks bad, but this is a much smoother, more flowing interpretation of the compact sedan, to be sure. And this cranberry color must be Mercedes’ new concept go-to hue, considering we saw it on the GT Concept, as well as a few others.”

-- Jake Lingeman, Autoweek

You can reach Jack Walsworth at jwalsworth@crain.com -- Follow Jack on Twitter: @jackwalsworth

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