Audi boss Rupert Stadler has firmly ruled out a full-blown cabriolet version of the company’s first-generation A1. An internal business study revealed it would be too expensive to engineer and produce without any open-top sister models from Volkswagen, Seat or Skoda to share its PQ35 platform.
However, supplier sources close to Audi have revealed that plans are being drawn up for the introduction of a semi-open-air version of the compact hatchback, along the lines of the Fiat 500C.
Nothing is official, but Autocar understands that an early design study of the three-door A1, with a retractable cloth roof panel, has been added to Audi’s road-going prototype ranks, increasing speculation that it has already been given the green light.
Details remains scarce, but Autocar’s sources suggest that the new open-top A1 will feature a large, electric-powered cloth panel, covering an area described as being up to 80 per cent of the total roof area. At the press of a button, this panel will automatically retract back and be gathered in above the rear hatch.
Unlike the 500C, it’s said that the new Audi’s rear hatch will remain unaltered — a process that would allow the semi-open A1 to be produced at a cost Stadler considers sufficiently low for it to be profitable.