Mike Stevens | Jan 12, 2012

Early last year we saw the stunning A-Class Concept, and some months later the first images of the final production version surfaced online.

This week, new spy photos offer a fresh look at Merc's next-generation light hatch, playing in the snow with barely even a coat on.

While the leaked patent images leave us with little guesswork, the appearance of this thinly-disguised test car suggests a debut could occur as early as March's Geneva Motor Show, or September's Frankfurt Motor Show.

The transformation from concept to production has seen the roofline level out, although the eventual three-door version may draw more inspiration from the concept.

2012 mercedes benz a class spy photos 04

The new A-Class also moves away from the 'minivan' styling of the current European-market model, giving Mercedes a more direct competitor to Audi's A3 and the new BMW 1 Series.

The new A-Class may also offer a pricier competitor to the Golf GTI: the concept shown last year is powered by a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0 litre petrol engine, directing 156kW to the front wheels.

Reports in the past year have also pointed to a high-powered AMG variant, targeting top-shelf small offerings from competitors of the likes of the Golf R and its Audi S3 sibling.

 

Australia

The current A-Class is no longer offered in Australia, the larger B-Class filling the 'small car' niche in the German carmaker's local line-up.

The new A-Class represents a significant step forward for MB's plans in the segment; we'd reckon an Australian debut for the new model is likely.

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