Daimler has just released photos and details with the Mercedes Concept A Class, a vehicle that points to the direction where the automaker’s production version premium hatchback is heading.
With its 3-door configuration and an overall dynamic appearance that shows a clear connection with the automaker’s previous concepts (the F800 and the CLS Shooting Brake), the Concept A Class features a long bonnet, a low roof line with slim windows areas, a striking front grille, and unique LED headlights and tail lamps. 
The Concept A Class is going to premiere at the Auto Show in Shanghai on April 21st and some of its technical highlights include a newly developed 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine ( from the M270 Series), producing 210 HP, a dual clutch transmission and a radar based collision warning system that uses the adaptive Brake Assist technology.
Inside the Concept A Class everything looks futuristic, especially the dashboard which according to the automaker, is shaped like an aircraft wing, as well as the air vents which look like a jet aircraft engine.
The production version of the A Class is expected to arrive in 2012, and once it will hit the market, this 3-door hatch will compete against BMW’s 1 Series and Audi’s A3.   
Daimler press release :
World premiere at the Auto Shanghai show (21 – 28 April 2011)
Stuttgart/Shanghai. With the Concept A-Class, Mercedes-Benz is
presenting a car that might have come from another planet: its
expressive design symbolises concentrated dynamism. The technical
highlights include a new, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, a
dual clutch transmission and a radar-based collision warning system with
adaptive Brake Assist.
A long bonnet, a low silhouette and slim window areas: the
proportions of the Concept A-Class suggest concentrated dynamism. The
car’s sporty appearance is given particular depth by the interplay
between lines and surfaces. The wind and the waves, as well as aviation
engineering, were the sources of inspiration for its designers.
It is not only visually, but also technologically that the Concept
A-Class is ushering in a new compact class era at Mercedes-Benz. This
front-wheel drive model is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine from
the new M270 series.It was designed for transverse installation, and
thanks to direct injection and turbocharging it offers high performance
potential together with minimal emissions and enhanced fuel consumption.
The Concept A-Class is equipped with the two-litre variant of the new
engine, developing 210 hp. This BlueEFFICIENCY unit is combined with the
new Mercedes-Benz dual clutch transmission.
As a world first in the compact class, the concept car features a
radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist, which
lowers the risk of rear-end collisions. This assistance system,
Collision Prevention Assist, gives a visual and acoustic warning to a
possibly inattentive driver, and prepares Brake Assist for an absolutely
precise braking response. This is initiated as soon as the driver
emphatically operates the brake pedal.
Defined edges and a free interplay with the body surfaces
The exterior design of the Concept A-Class features the combination
of defined edges and free interplay with the body surfaces that
Mercedes-Benz first showed in the F 800 Style. The side view is
structured by three prominent lines: the front structural edge above the
front wing forms a dropping line, while the prominent shoulder muscle
above the rear axle underlines the car’s coupé-like character. A further
line extends upwards from the rear wheel arch in a sweeping curve.
The front end of the Concept A-Class is a real eye-catcher. The brand
logo appears to be surrounded by a starry sky. Where there are usually
apertures or louvres, the radiator grille consists of numerous metallic
silver "dots" on black stems. This theme is reflected in the design of
the wheels. A very special effect is created by the lights of the
Concept A-Class, as the innovative full-LED high-performance headlamps
repeat the starry sky motif with numerous lighting points. The daytime
running lamps consist of 90 optical fibres with aluminium sleeves, and
they are arranged in a wing-shape within the headlamp.
In the interior of the Concept A-Class the eye is immediately drawn
to the dashboard, which has the shape of an aircraft wing and a
translucent, stretchable textile lining. This enables the bionic,
cellular structure of the component to remain visible.
The shape of the air vents in the dashboard is reminiscent of a jet
aircraft engine. The prominent displays in the instrument cluster are in
red. Their appearance is inspired by the afterburner of a jet engine.
The central control unit is designed as a modern flight panel, with the
shift lever taking the form of a "reverse thrust control".
A smartphone is fully integrated into the operating concept of the
Concept A-Class. All the applications, services and features of a
digital lifestyle can therefore be operated via COMAND Online. The
visual presentation of the display screen elements is unique and
revolutionary. Dynamically varied glass elements are illuminated by
magenta-coloured light to form three-dimensionally arranged navigation

Source: Daimler