The redesigned fourth-generation Mercedes-Benz A-class hatchback that will debut this year will represent a new direction for the carmaker. Mercedes says it plans to ease off the flashiness of its recent designs.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche wants to take a step back with his luxury brand's European entry hatchback. Mercedes will drastically reduce overly expressive cues — not just on the A class but in all models as part of an evolution of its design philosophy.
"The previous A-class design had to be edgy and loud for a reason: to attract attention, a concept that has been widely adopted by the competition, so it's time to move on," Zetsche said. "As our head of design, Gorden Wagener, puts it: 'If you like it, take a line off. If you still like it, take another line off.' "
The small car remains striking. Contours help divide the body into light and dark surfaces, building tension and drawing attention to specific styling cues. Sometimes they go so far as to create the illusion that the car is moving even when standing still.
To emphasize their importance, many lines come with colorful names. Mercedes, for example, calls them catwalk lines or balancing lines. At Audi, designers call the shoulder crease in the side of its cars the tornado line.