Audi’s new A1 has been designed to be turned into four individual models in a move that the firm’s boss, Rupert Stadler, predicts will allow it to add at least 100,000 additional sales to its books annually.
First out of the blocks will be the three-door variant revealed here and due to go on sale in the UK in October.
The three-door will be followed by a more practical five-door version that will share the same styling and dimensions but will be priced slightly higher.
Due to reach UK showrooms around this time next year, the five-door will offer the same line-up of four-cylinder, direct injection petrol and common-rail diesel engines as the three-door.
Also under development, but not due out until 2012, is an S1 based on the three-door bodyshell. A sister car to parent company Volkswagen’s upcoming Polo GTI, with which it shares its driveline hardware, the S1 will use a turbocharged 1.4-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that will be good for around 180bhp.
This motor will be mated to Audi’s seven-speed, dual-clutch S-tronic gearbox. And it won’t have four-wheel drive either, making it the first performance Audi to come as a front-drive model as standard.
In the same year as Audi launches the S1, the firm also plans to add an A1 cabriolet to its line-up. Set to sport a fabric hood, the compact 2+2 has been developed in a parallel programme to that of the upcoming Polo saloon, with which it shares its rear-end structure.