Development version of new all-wheel drive hatchback revealed testing in the Montreal snow
12 January 2011

Audi has confirmed its intentions to build an all-wheel drive quattro version of its A1 by revealing this development version testing in the Montreal snow.

The development model has been revealed as part of a ‘Fascination of quattro’ event taking part in the Canadian city, celebrating the history of Audi quattros a year on from its 30th anniversary.

See the official pics of the Audi A1 quattro development car

The Audi A1’s PQ25 platform had not originally been engineered for all-wheel drive, but the move should now lead to all-wheel drive Polo R and CrossPolo models from Volkswagen as well as the Audi A1 quattro.

The A1 quattro gets an electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch located in front of the rear axle for an optimised weight distribution of weight. Inside is a package of plates that rotate in an oil bath.

Power in most instances is sent to the front wheels but torque can be sent to the rear by forcing the plates together should the front axle lose grip. A pressure reservoir helps the electric pump to develop the necessary oil pressure.

Read more on the Audi A1 quattro and VW Polo R

Audi hasn’t revealed what engine is in the development model, nor has it confirmed a launch date for the A1 quattro. But its eventual launch will mean every Audi in its range will have a quattro drivetrain as an option.

Audi had originally planned to launch an S1 version of the A1 at the Paris motor show, but this decision was reversed at the eleventh hour as it was a front-wheel drive model.

VW is understood to have taken development of the Polo R to an advanced stage, but, like Audi with the S1, made the decision against putting into production due to the issue over all-wheel drive.

Being able to produce a minimum of three models of the all-wheel drive PQ25 platform is believed to have convinced VW Group that the engineering costs would be worthwhile.Read more on the Audi A1 1.4 TFSI - which was going to be the S1

See all the latest Audi A1 reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Audi A1

The A1 is a stylish, high quality and competent supermini, if a little expensive, but does it have the edge over the Mini hatch, Seat Ibiza and the Ford Fiesta?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?