Audi’s new A1 supermini is poised to become the biggest-selling model in the firm’s history following its UK launch this October. Priced from around £14,000, the A1 will provide Ingolstadt with a direct rival to the popular Mini Cooper.
The A1 was first seen as the metroproject quattro concept at the Tokyo motor show in October 2007; the production car features many of the same styling cues. From launch, two petrol and two diesel engines will be available, all of them featuring direct injection technology and turbocharging.
Audi claims the A1 is the sportiest and most luxurious car in its class, and has provided the car with a glut of standard kit plus Mini-style customisable options. Following the three-door hatch will be five-door Sportback and cabriolet models, as well as a Cooper S-rivalling S1.
Audi is pitching the A1 as the “sportiest car in its class” featuring “unique and modern” design. The front end is little changed from the original concept. Most striking are the LED daytime running lights, which feature the ‘wing’ design from the larger A8 and R8 Audis. The concept’s large, trapezoid single-frame front grille is retained. S-line models get more pronounced front foglights.
Audi claims the car will be the most aerodynamic in its class, with a drag coefficient of 0.32. The A1 has short overhangs, a high beltline and a roof spoiler that all contribute to its sporty stance. Its wheel arches can house up to 18-inch alloys.
The sloping C-pillars give the A1 a coupé-like profile. These elements and the roof arch can be specified in a contrasting colour to the rest of the bodywork. Wedge-shaped, single-piece lights feature on the rear hatch, using LEDs as standard. Twin exhaust tips are available with selected engines, and all models get an integrated black rear diffuser. Audi will offer the car with a choice of 10 exterior colours.
Audi is keen to point out just how ‘upmarket’ the A1’s interior is for a supermini, and the cabin is where you’ll find most of the new car’s Mini-style customisable options. The interior styling has been inspired by the wings of an aeroplane and its four air vents are said to resemble the turbines of a jet.
Three trim levels are set to be offered to British buyers at launch: standard, Sport and S-line. Sports seats are standard on Sport models and above, and leather seats are available as an option.