Mercedes-Benz is previewing the design of its next-generation compact cars with a conceptual sculpture it calls Aesthetics A. The company isn’t coy about what is being shown here, stating that the sculpture “presents the vision of a saloon car in the compact car segment,” so this could be an early look at an A-Class sedan, which could take on the BMW 1 Series Sedan and Audi A3.

Other models that are part of Mercedes’ compact car range include the A-Class (currently in hatchback form only), B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and the GLA (recently facelifted). The styling ethos you see here will likely be adopted by the next generation of these named models as well.

According to Mercedes, Aesthetics A is a development of its Sensual Purity design language, with the front grille adopting the Panamericana design seen on the AMG GT R. You’ll also note that the hood features aggressive lines and sharp creases as we’ve seen on the current CLA too.

Unlike the aforementioned model, the Aesthetics A simplifies the vehicle’s sides by doing away with many of the creases and lines. Instead, there is only a single character line that stretches from the headlights to the taillights, giving it a smoother appearance.

“Form and body are what remain when creases and lines are reduced to the extreme. We have the courage to apply this purism. In combination with perfect proportions and sensual surface design, the upcoming generation of the compact class has the potential to herald a new design era,” said Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Mercedes-Benz.

The three-box design marks a departure in the direction of new markets for the compact class (mainly focusing on hatchbacks) but for good reason, as sedans are still very much in demand in markets outside of Germany and Europe.

Autocar reports that a revised version of Mercedes’ MFA (modular front architecture) platform will be used to underpin the all-new line-up, with front- and four-wheel drive powertrains made available. The Aesthetics A sculpture is the latest in a series of sculptures from Mercedes-Benz which includes Aesthetics No. 1 (2010), Aesthetics No. 2 (2011), Aesthetics 125 (2011) and Aesthetics S (2012).