Mercedes showed it was serious about its A-Class at the 2011 New York Auto Show, but now it's clear it's more than serious about turning the concept into reality.
According to one Mercedes source, the A-Class concept that debuted in Shanghai and New York last month is quite close to the final production version.
Mercedes doesn't plan to change the car all that much before sending it to the assembly lines. Design director Gordon Wagener told Autocar: "What you see is realistic. Obviously the real thing is a five-door and we will make changes to the window line, headlights and grille, but that's it."
He even went on to promise that the rather drastically slung-back roofline will follow through to production.
Other changes are likely: the glass roof probably will get tossed for a conventional one; the fiber-optic headlamps will not make it out of concept stage; and the car might have to lose the throwing-star wheels. Other than that, it should retain much the same shape and styling in production.
In concept form, the A-Class was powered by a 210-hp 2.0-liter BlueEfficiency four-cylinder turbo, and it will get a selection of turbo engine options in production. A manual gearbox will be standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch available as an option.
While the gas-powered hatch will be the first A-Class, other body styles and powertrains, including an AMG version, will spin from the the platform.
The new A-Class and future derivatives (which we'll assume means the souped-up AMG version too) will make it to the U.S.