Yowzers! Mercedes-Benz sure is turning up the sex appeal with this concept model for its next-generation A-Class. The Concept A-Class will officially be shown to the world at the 2011 Shanghai auto show that will open later in April and gives warning to rivals - BMW’s 1 Series and Audi’s A3 – that it’s going for the premium hatchback jugular. Mercedes is dropping the mini-MPV profile that does the current A-Class no favours. In its place: a more athletic profile with a long, swooping bonnet and low roof inspired largely by the F800 and the recent CLS Shooting Brake concepts. Although the production model that will surface sometime in 2012 will probably lose many of the concept’s most striking details, the general shape should remain in place. FUTURE FIRSTInside its futuristic cabin, the Concept A-Class seats four and emphasis has, apparently, been placed on delivering better interior quality with the new car equipped with plastics and trim seen on the C-Class (recently revised in Europe). The Concept A-Class rides on a new front-wheel drive platform called MFA (Mercedes front-wheel architecture) that uses front suspension struts and a multi-link rear axle. The concept is powered by a 152kW version of a new four-cylinder petrol engine that combines direct injection and turbocharging. Power is channeled to the front wheels through Merc’s new dual-clutch transmission.A choice of petrol or turbodiesel engines will be on offer, including a hot two-litre turbo AMG version to take on Audi’s S3.The AMG is expected to launch in 2013.