TopGear.com19 April 2012

Mercedes Concept Style Coupe unveiled

Junior saloon heads to Beijing Motor Show – and it's looking pretty…

Merc CLA

Here’s another car to be unveiled at next week’s Beijing Motor Show, and another one that is going to become reality. Mercedes is calling this the CSC or ‘Concept Style Coupe’,  but you should call it CLA as that’s what it will likely be badged when you see it in your local showroom next year, or early the year after.

See all the pictures of the new Mercedes Concept Style Coupe

A little longer than a current C-class and a lot more sexy, this is the third variant on the new A-class (the first being the new B-class, which of course was launched before the A in Mercedes’ slightly dyslexic new model programme). All three cars share what Benz calls the ‘MFA’ structure for ‘medium front-drive architecture or, more impressively in German: Modularenfrontanstriebarchitektur.

MFA is Mercedes giving up the engineering high ground of the old A-class sandwich construction. Remember that, the engine sat between the car’s two floors which made for an incredible space-efficient car, but some troublesome handling? MFA will underpin a lot of cars; the rather-ignored B-class, the we-cant-wait-to-have-a-go-in-it, ‘Golf busting’ (so Benz hopes…) A-class, this CLA, a little SUV called the GLC. There could even be a baby CLA Shooting Brake, which if it looks like its big brother will look fantastic in compact form.

How do we know? Well, tell us you don’t like the look of this and then tell us you don’t think Mercedes-Benz are the meisters when it comes to good-looking machines. The production car should be pretty much as you see it here, give or take an inch or two. The production new A-class doesn’t look quite as good as the concept did, but is still a pretty good facsimile.

There’s the new turbo-four 2.0-litre under the bonnet - with 211bhp – that will make it to the showroom, and there’s also seven-speed double-clutch transmission. This version has 4Matic four-wheel drive, but Mercedes in the UK has never been too keen on that option (as opposed to the snowy bits of the USA where every model seems to have it).

Don’t expect to see the 21ins rims in reality either. Not even Mercedes-Benz can make a car of this size ride well on such monsters. And we’re unlikely to see some of the cute concept ideas like headlamps that gently glow red when they’re not on (although we admit, we would quite like to). And we hope some of that that silky, glowing carbon loveliness on the inside survives.

Oh well, with an exterior like that and a price tag considerably less than a ‘proper’ CLS, we ain’t complaining…

See all the pictures of the new Mercedes Concept Style Coupe

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