A1 is Audi's new compact supermini

Audi say they have ‘shrink-wrapped everything they stand for’ to create the new A1. This is their first small hatchback since the Audi A2 and it will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The new car follows the look of the 2007 Audi A1 project quattro design study. Despite its compact dimensions, Audi say the A1 has space for four adults and their luggage.

Helping its environmental performance is a slippery design, with a drag coefficient of 0.32. The A1 also uses a start-stop system to switch off the engine when stopped in traffic and an energy-recuperation system that generates power from braking. Audi says the A1 will benefit from highly fuel-efficient engines which compensate for their small capacity by using turbochargers.

In the UK the range will start with a new 1.2-litre TFSI petrol engine which will have a power output of 86PS, delivering a 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds along with what Audi describe as “55.4 mpg capability”. CO2 emissions will be 119g/km.

Audi A1

Next up will be the now familiar 1.4 TFSI power unit, delivering 122PS with a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. The 1.4TFSI accelerates to 62mph in 9.1 seconds, but matches its smaller-engined sibling on both economy and emissions, delivering up to 55.4mpg with CO2 output of 119g/km*.

The 105PS 1.6-litre DTI diesel is the third engine option. It has a 0-62 time of 10.8 seconds with a potential maximum of 72.4mpg with emissions of 102g/km*.

Audi promise that the A1 will be well-balanced, nimble and fun to drive. As evidence they point to the achievement of front weight bias of between 61 and 63% and the fitment of the latest version of their ESP system.

Audi A1

The silver ‘roof contrast line’ will be an option

There will be SE, Sport and S line options in the UK, with either 15-inch, 16-inch or 17-inch alloy wheels. The Sport and S line models will have stiffer, more sporting suspension.

Xenon headlamps with Audi’s trademark LED daytime running lights will be available at extra cost exclusively for S line models, but there is likely to be the usual Audi tempting list of options. One such will be a BOSE sound system with “LED-lit woofers”. That sounds a tad brash for an Audi, however the DAB radio and iPod connection are much more appealing.

Audi A1 interior

The A1 will also offer a choice colours, materials and equipment options designed to make each car feel as unique and personal as possible. The ‘roof contrast line’ — a contrasting colour scheme for the A, B and C pillars as seen first in the A1 project quattro study in Tokyo – is just one of the many options available.

Prices are expected to start around £13,000, with the order books opening in May for delivery in late 2010.
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