The starting point for the interior design was the interior sculpture
"Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics No. 2" presented at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2011 and which directed attention to the new Mercedes-Benz design language in the vehicle interior, too. The first concrete implementation of this was shown in April 2011 with the "Concept A-CLASS" created in the Advanced Design Studio in the northern Italian city of Como.
"The inspiration from aircraft design is continued in the A-Class", explains designer Jan Kaul. "The instrument panel is clearly divided into an upper part inspired on a wing profile and a muscular lower section. This creates the impression that the upper section is supported by a muscle."
The process used for the production of the muscle allows diverse soft surface textures. It is thus possible to create different surface appearances with an attractive play of lights thanks to three-dimensional structures embedded in foil.
"The interior of the A-Class represents a big step forward in terms of quality – both in the materials used and in the consistency of the design" says Kaul. Both objectives have been achieved with the help of a specific design idiom and through the various combination options possible with the high-quality materials selected. All trim elements have been given an electroplated finish, resulting in real metal surfaces with "cool touch" effect. The work has been executed with considerable care and attention to detail, so that they appear to have been moulded in one piece.
The instrument panel incorporates five round vents. "Like brilliant jewels they underscore the superior quality of the vehicle interior", explains Kaul. The outer rings of the round vents have a high-quality electroplated finish. The airflow direction is governed by an insert that is reminiscent of an aircraft turbine and reveals a meticulous attention to detail. This too has an electroplated finish in silver-chrome. The free-standing display screen features a black piano-lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame.
The instrument cluster comprises two large round instruments, each with a small dial set within it. When at rest, the dial needles stand at 6 o'clock. The pointer inlays are in white, although with the sportier design and equipment lines such as Urban and AMG Sport they are in red. The dials on the sporty equipment lines and packages are coloured silver with a chequered flag effect. The 3-spoke steering wheel comes with 12 function buttons and an electroplated bezel.
The centre dome and console, as well as the positioning of the various elements such as the head unit, lower control panel, air conditioning operating unit, stowage compartments, rotary push-button and armrest, reflect the findings of the ergonomics experts at Mercedes-Benz.
An extensive range of seat coverings, in terms of material (e.g. leather, fabric, Artico/fabric), colour combination and also geometry, provides scope for a broad range of individualisation options. Sports seats with integrated head restraints are available, for example, as an optional extra with all design and equipment lines. The sporty nature of the seats is emphasised by the opening between the upper edge of the seat backrest and the head restraint. On the back of the front seats this opening is edged with a frame in silver chrome and, in conjunction with the Light and Sight package, can also feature ambient lighting.
Designer Jan Kaul sums up: "If you were to take a seat in the A-Class with your eyes closed – you would never think, upon opening your eyes, that you were sitting in a compact-class vehicle."