Much-anticipated new supermini revealed ahead of Tokyo show. On sale in 2010
19 October 2007

Meet Audi's highly anticipated Mini rival, the A1, which will be officially unveiled at the Tokyo motor show next Wednesday (24 October).It was supposed to be secret until then, but it's been plastered all over the internet for over a day, and we didn't want Autocar readers to miss out.This concept version is called Metroproject quattro, and uses a hybrid, four-wheel drive powertrain. Audi intends to put the car into showrooms by 2010. Expect the production car to be almost identical to this concept, with a few changes made to the body for reasons of cost and practicality. The frameless doors and pillarless construction will be replaced by conventional structures, but new design elements such as the clamshell bonnet will appear on the A1. Under the bonnet is a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine – a more advanced version of the 125bhp unit in the A3 – with 150bhp and 177lb ft. It’s part of a hybrid drivetrain, complemented by an electric motor in the rear axle that adds 41bhp and 148lb ft; and the battery can be charged by plugging the car into the mains. On electric power alone the car is capable of 62 miles and 62mph. Drawing heavily on Audi’s Shooting Brake concept from the last Tokyo show in 2005, the Metroproject retains that car’s short overhangs and ultra-deep grille but has a higher roofline. It’s longer and wider than a Mini, and unlike the Mini promises decent legroom in the rear and a reasonable boot. The cabin, too, shows a lot of production ready components, from the instrument pod to the round vents on the dash. There's also a new Audi phone that mates to the car.

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