Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz has revealed the interior of its all-new A-Class, ahead of the hatchback’s anticipated reveal early next year, and it has a radical new interface layout.

Although not the first Benz to feature the widescreen set-up, it is the first to completely do away with the traditional instrument cowl, meaning that the combined digital instrument cluster and infotainment display appears to be completely free-standing. As a result, the wing-shaped dashboard flows between the front doors with no visual discontinuity.

The dual-screen system will be standard on all models, but three different sizes will be available depending on the customer’s budget: 17.8cm x 2 for base models, a 17.8cm + 26cm combo for those wanting a bigger infotainment screen and a range-topping 26cm x 2 format. The latter two feature bonded glass technology.

Not everyone is going to like the floating screen effect, but it could very well become a trend in the industry. In fact Merc’s design chief Gorden Wagener believes that it has the potential to usher in a new design era. Tesla’s new Model 3 also does away with the traditional instrument cowl, although everything is positioned on one centrally-mounted floating screen.

The A-Class is taking a decisive step upmarket with many of the other cabin details, such as available open-pore wood trim and an advanced new ambient lighting system with 64 different colours, even allowing “spectacular colour changes” in the words of its designers.

The optional lighting system combines direct and indirect lighting, which is said to create a unique ambience that might be compared to the night-time illumination of an historic building.

The cabin is more spacious too, says Mercedes, with up to 22mm more shoulder room, 36mm more elbow space, and 8mm more head room, while the boot capacity grows by 29 litres to total 370 litres with the rear seats in place.

The A-Class is also inheriting some advanced seating technologies from the bigger sedans in the range, with seat climate control and the Multicontour Seat Package making it onto the options list.

The new Baby Benz is expected to debut in March next year, and will form part of a family that will eventually include eight different models, including a sedan variant.

On that note, the four-door has already been shown in concept form, and this also gives us an idea of how the new hatch will look upfront:

IOL Motoring