But it’s the leap in both technology and trim quality that will stand out, along with an ambient light show that includes 64 colours and even lighting on the inside of the air vents, which come from the E-Class coupe.
It has found a way to ditch the traditional cowl that shades the instrument cluster, keeping night-time reflections off the windscreen. The short, two-tier dashboard is topped by an instrument cluster that looks a lot like the S-Class’s two conjoined screens, only without a cowl, making it stand free and look for all the world like it’s the interior of a concept car.
Three versions of the system will be available, starting with two seven-inch screens, a seven-inch instrument cluster with a 10.25-inch infotainment unit in the centre or two 10.25-inch units side by side.
They’ve used a louvred-style film on the screens to stop light reflecting off the windscreen and windows, and the simplicity of the look allows the two-tiered, sculpted dash itself to be symmetrical, reducing complexity and fussiness.
"The A-Class is the first series-production model to dispense completely with a classic cockpit shroud," Daimler’s head of interior design, Hartmut Sinkwitz, says.
"This literally places the large widescreen cockpit, with its bonded glass technology, in the forefront. There is no longer a display in the air-conditioning control panel, as the visual representation is exclusively via the central display. This helped us to realise our clean, puristic and reduced design approach."
The biggest news is that Mercedes has bowed to buyer pressure and moved the cruise control switchgear onto the steering wheel after decades with its single lever behind the left side of the wheel.
Its seating package has had a huge overhaul, too, with top-spec models including seat ventilation and massage functions.
"The interior of the new A-Class is a major step towards the avant-garde and unique especially with respect to the open space architecture and the ultra-modern display and control concept. It lends a new quality to the term modern luxury in the compact segment, and is an inner revolution," Sinkwitz says.
In a move to thwart an upwardly mobile Volkswagen Golf and an upcoming Audi A3, the A-Class also adopts materials like open-pore wood trims to justify a climb upmarket.
But with all that tech coming, few will be interested in the A-Class because of its wood trim.