Audi has shrink-wrapped everything it stands for to create the new Audi A1, a more compact and city-friendly three-door premium hatchback that delivers all the celebrated quality, design flair and engineering acumen synonymous with Vorsprung durch Technik in a more concentrated form. The Audi A1 is set to make its World debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and will be available to order in the UK from May for late 2010 deliveries.
Closely following the look of 2007's critically acclaimed Audi A1 project quattro design study, the production-ready Audi A1 distils the essence of Audi into a sleek, streamlined body with an impressively low drag coefficient of 0.32 which occupies a road 'footprint' of less than four metres, without sacrificing space for four adults and their luggage.
Inside, as out, the look and feel of the materials epitomises Vorsprung durch Technik, as does the on-board technology. This includes the latest, ultra-efficient TDI and TFSI engines backed up by start-stop and recuperation systems, state-of-the-art ESP with a new electronic differential lock and archetypal convenience features such as the optional Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system.
Not surprisingly the most space efficient Audi in the range employs the most compact and fuel efficient Audi engines, all of which compensate very effectively for their relatively small displacements with the latest turbo charger technology. In the UK the A1 will initially be available with three impressively frugal units, all optimised by engine start-stop and energy recuperation systems.
The new 1.2 TFSI petrol engine linked exclusively to a five-speed manual transmission kicks off the range, its 86PS and 160Nm peak power and torque outputs enabling a 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds and a 111mph top speed, delivered with 55.4mpg capability and low CO2 of 119g/km.
The more familiar 1.4 TFSI power unit is next up, and delivers its 122PS and 200Nm via the standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. Equipped with S tronic it takes the Audi A1 to 62mph in 9.1 seconds, and on to 124mph where conditions allow, and in this form can match its smaller counterpart on economy and emissions, delivering up to 55.4mpg with CO2 output of 119g/km.
Already renowned for creating the premium sector's most fuel-efficient car - the A3 1.6-litre TDI - the 105PS 1.6-litre diesel is the third engine option, and via a five-speed manual gearbox uses its impressive 250Nm torque output to power the Audi A1 to 62mph in 10.8 seconds and on to a 116mph top speed, while retaining the potential to achieve 72.4mpg economy with emissions of 102g/km.
All engine options are supported by the latest generation ESP system with electronic differential, which initiates brief, controlled braking of the inside front wheel and transfers the excess torque to the outside wheel, which can apply more power to the road. This helps to further boost handling agility and neutrality by minimising understeer and improving traction.
These measures have ensured that the Audi A1 will feel every inch an Audi from behind the wheel, an impression which begins to form even before the ignition key is turned thanks to the exceptional quality of the interior finish and the familiar Audi comforts on-board.
Prices for the Audi A1 in the UK have yet to be finalised, but are expected to start at around £13,000. Full details will be available nearer to its world debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show (4th - 14th March 2010), when the full content of the various trim levels will also be confirmed.Published 10 February 2010