Only moments after our previous post on the new A1, and Audi formally introduced its new premium supermini that will take on the MINI Cooper and its like. Poised as a true, fully-fledged Audi, the A1 will be launched initially as a three-door hatchback with a more practical five-door Sportsback model set to follow shortly after.
The A1 supermini was first previewed over two years ago, when Audi showed the three-door Metro Project Concept at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, followed in 2008 by the five-door A1 Sportback study in Paris.
The production model has remained extremely close to the original Metro Project concept, as it even keeps the color-contrasted roof arches that will be optionally available in a variety of shades. The most significant change concerns the newer interpretation of Audi's single-frame, five-point grille.
Though featuring less extravagant materials and production switchgear, the interior has also been carried over almost unchanged from the concept model. Special attention has been given to the styling of certain elements such as the four round air nozzles that are said to resemble the turbines of a jet.
Audi is following in the footsteps of MINI offering its new car with many customizable options including colored air nozzles, LED interior lighting packages, and seat covers in many different hues.
As you may have already figured out by now, the A1 is loosely based on the VW Group's small car architecture that includes the latest VW Polo and Skoda Fabia, with the chassis having been revised to offer greater driving pleasure.
Audi's iteration measures 3.95 meters (12.96 feet) in length, 1.74 meters (5.71 feet) in width and 1.42 meters (4.66 feet) in height and has a wheelbase of 2.47 meters (8.10 feet).
It's luggage compartment has a base volume of 267 liters (9.43 cubic feet) and comes with a double cargo floor as standard. The A1's split rear seat can be folded down to increase luggage capacity to roughly 920 liters (32.49 cubic feet) if loaded to the roof.
Audi is sending the new model into the market with two diesel and two gasoline engines, all of them featuring turbo-charging, direct injection and start-stop technology.
The entry-level gasoline engine is the new 1.2 TFSI that generates 86 hp and produces its peak torque of 160 Nm (118.01 lb-ft) between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm. Coupled with a five-speed manual transmission, the four-cylinder accelerates the A1 from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in 12.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 179 km/h or 111mph.
In the EU driving cycle, it consumes 5.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (46.1 US mpg), which corresponds to only 119 grams of CO2/km.
The 1.4 TFSI ups the ante with 122HP and 200 Nm (147.51 lb-ft) of torque that is continuously available between 1,500 and 4,000 rpm. Together with the seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission, the 1.4 TFSI gets the A1 up to 100km/h (62mph) in 9.1 seconds and on to a top speed is 200 km/h or 124 mph.
The standard six-speed manual transmission bumps the time for the sprint to 9.2 seconds, without affecting top speed. Average fuel consumption is 5.1 and 5.4 liters/100 km (43.6 and 46.1 US mpg), respectively, in the EU test cycle.
On the diesel front, the first version of the 1.6-liter TDI produces 105HP and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm, and is coupled with a five-speed manual transmission. The diesel engine accelerates the A1 through the standard sprint in 10.8 seconds before reaching a top speed of 187 km/h or116 mph while consuming an average of 3.9 liters/100 km (60.3 US mpg).
The second iteration of the 1.6 TDI generates 90HP and 230 Nm (169.64 lb-ft) of torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. Coupled with the five-speed manual transmission, it accelerates the A1 from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.2 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 179 km/h or 111 mph, while returning a mere 3.8 liters/100 km (61.9 US mpg), which corresponds to 99 grams of CO2/km.
All four engines transmit their power to the front wheels with all A1's being equipped with a standard ESP system that includes an electronic axle-differential lock.
Even though the A1 features a steel-based structure, Audi claims that the A1 is the lightest vehicle in the premium compact class as it tips the scales from 1045kg or 2,303.83 lb.
The A1 will have its world premiere at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in March with sales to follow in Europe shortly after. According to Audi, the entry-level model will be priced at around €16,000 which is equal to US$22,000 at today's exchange rates.