Mercedes will show the Concept Style Coupe at the 2012 Beijing motor show next week. It's a thinly veiled look at a compact coupe spun off the Merc A-class architecture - likely to wear the CLA badge.
In essence this is our first look at the shrunken, baby CLS Daimler plans to launch in 2013 - and the CLA production version will be priced around £20,000.
A Mercedes A-class coupe, you say?
That's right. This is one of half a dozen derivatives spun off the A-class's new Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture (MFA), the new oily bits underpinning the smallest Mercedes and indeed the new small Infiniti exec being planned through the alliance with Renault-Nissan.
Gone is the clever-clogs sandwich floor of the earlier A-class families - the new models are resolutely conventional in layout, although boasting the latest tech in powertrain, electronics and construction processes.
This four-door coupe is a smidge bigger than the A-class hatchback. The MFA platform is hyper-flexible, stretching closer to a 3-series coupe in this iteration:
• Length: 4637mm
• Width 1891mm
• Height 1398mm
What will power the Mercedes Concept Sytle Coupe?
The concept car uses the new 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, turbocharged to produce 208bhp. In production, this car would be badged CLA250. But it's not front-wheel drive; the MFA architecture can be equipped with four-wheel drive, and this show car has 4Matic and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Production versions will be available with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive in higher-spec, and higher-powered, models. Also helping contain the power - at least on this concept car - are large 21-inch, turbine-inspired alloy wheels.
The 208bhp four-pot has direct-injection and a new lean-burn system which is claimed to use even less fuel than before when on a trailing or light throttle. Engines set to be available on the production coupe include:
• CLA200 1.6 petrol, 154bhp
• CLA250 2.0 petrol, 208bhp
• CLA200 CDI, 134bhp
• CLA220 CDI, 168bhp
• CLA45 AMG, 340bhp
What about inside the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe cabin?
All the latest Merc cabin features are present and correct in the snug four-seat cabin, illuminated by a full-length glass roof:
• Comand Online - always-on web access
• Cloud-based computing for the onboard apps, so they're always up to date
• Syncing with smart phones, operating all functions through the screen
• Drowsiness detectors set for production version
• Blindspot monitors
The design boss speaks
'The almost production-standard Concept Style Coupé sets a new benchmark for avantgarde design in the executive segment,' said Merc design chief Gorden Wagener. 'Its breathtaking proportions, sinewy fluid surfaces and sculptural lines are the physical expression of our dynamic design idiom.'
The Beijing show car is clearly heavily based on the earlier Mercedes concept, the F800 Style from 2010. And the production car coming in 2013 will, we hear, shadow the look of the car you see here pretty closely, just like the A-class remained true to its concept car predecessor.