Mike Stevens | Mar 15, 2011

A first look at the upcoming 2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch has surfaced online today, less than 24 hours on from reports that the next-generation B-Class will feature a CLS-inspired sedan in its line-up.

Although only a stylised preview, replete with the usual streamlined shape and giant wheels, the illustration offers the best look yet at what we can expect from the new A-Class.

The illustration shows that the next-generation A-Class will retain its five- and three-door (shown here) body styles, while the overall styling will draw from the brand's latest models - and more than a little from the BlueZERO E-Cell Plus concept.

With a performance-oriented AMG version expected to join the A-Class line-up, this illustration likely also offers a hint as to the look of that top-shelf variant.

Reports of an AMG-powered A-Class are not new: British magazine Autocar reported that the new A-Class would be available with a 240kW twin-turbo 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine (phenomenal figures for a production four-cylinder engine), aimed square at BMW's 1 Series M Coupe.

Mercedes-Benz has yet to reveal a launch date for the new A-Class, although a debut at the Shanghai Motor Show late next month is expected.

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