Due to be shown for the first time at Auto Shanghai later this month is the Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class, no doubt a very strong indication of the next A-Class due for production in 2012. Following the styling cues first seen in the F800, the front-wheel-drive concept is powered by a 210 bhp, direct injection, turbocharged, transverse 2.0 liter four-cylinder BlueEFFICIENCY engine from the new M270 series. The A-Class Concept sports a world first for the compact class in the form of a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist and lightning shifts will be possible with a dual clutch transmission. The spectacular driver information display with integrated smartphone is another highlight of a car you'll probably be able to buy within 12 months.

The Collision Prevention Assist warning system is primarily focused on reducing rear-end collisions, emitting a visual and acoustic warning while simultaneously preparing Brake Assist to deliver immediate and precise braking response once initiated by the driver. The full-LED headlamps are complemented by daytime running lamps consisting of 90 aluminum-sleeved optical fibers.

With the smartphone fast heading for the same ubiquity the mobile phone has achieved, it's becoming increasingly obvious that smartphone integration is the way of the future for automotive interfaces. Not surprisingly, the Concept A-Class tightly meshes a smartphone with the operating concept of the vehicle. All the applications, services and features of the smartphone can be operated via COMAND Online.