Audi has finally “cut to the chase” and delivered us enough information to bring you an insight into how its new A1 will look and perform when it’s released at the Geneva Motor Show next month. This new Audi three-door hatchback follows on from the 2007 Quattro design study in a smaller shape that the company says will still provide space for four adults and their luggage. It comes a choice of two petrol and one diesel engine option and plenty of built-in features shoe-horned into a compact space.

The three engine choices promise great fuel economy coupled with low CO2 emissions. The 1.2L TFSI petrol engine delivers 86PS (63kW/85hp), 160Nm, 55.4mpg, and CO2 119g/km. The slightly larger 1.4 TFSI petrol engine offers 122PS (89kW/120hp), 200Nm, 55.4mpg, CO2 119g/km (with optional S tronic transmission), while the 1.6 TDI diesel provides 105PS (77kW/103hp), 250Nm, 72.4mpg, and CO2 102g/km.

The engines all feature engine start-stop and recuperation technology, as well as state-of-the-art ESP with a new electronic differential lock.

The new 1.2L TFSI petrol engine is linked exclusively to a five-speed manual transmission to provide 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds and a 111mph top speed.

Audi’s more familiar 1.4L TFSI engine has a standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. Equipped with S tronic it takes the A1 to 62mph in 9.1 seconds, and to a top speed of 124mph.

The 1.6L diesel has a five-speed manual gearbox and can power to 62mph in 10.8 seconds and on to a 116mph top speed.

The front-wheel drive vehicle is supported by front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension and the latest generation Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with electronic axle differential designed to make handling that is also nimble and fun.


Depending on which specification level is chosen from the SE, Sport and S line options available in the UK, the suspension controls either 15-inch, 16-inch or 17-inch alloy wheels and has either a standard setting for the SE, a stiffer Sport configuration with lowered ride height or an even more sporting S line set-up. All-disc brakes, ventilated at the front, and power-saving electrohydraulic power steering feature as standard across all model options.

Latest generation ESP with electronic differential

All engine options are supported by the latest generation ESP system with electronic differential, which initiates brief, controlled braking of the inside front wheel and transfers the excess torque to the outside wheel, which can apply more power to the road, minimizing understeer and improving traction.

The new A1 measures (l x w x h) 3,950mm x 1,740mm x 1,420mm and standard features include alloy wheels, air conditioning, single CD audio system with MP3 compatibility, ESP with latest differential lock system

Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights will be an optional extra exclusively for S line models, but all versions will offer the option to upgrade to features such as a BOSE sound system including LED-lit woofers, DAB radio, the Audi Music Interface for iPod connection, cruise and parking distance controls and the Multi Media Interface (MMI) navigation plus system.

Based on the system in the Audi A8, MMI navigation plus incorporates a 60GB hard drive, 20GB of which can be devoted to music files, linked to a 6.5-inch retractable color display which can be used to scroll through music tracks or to display 3D mapping for the navigation system.

Prices for the Audi A1 in the UK have yet to be finalized, but are expected to start at around £13,000 (US$20,500 approx). It is expected to be available towards the end of this year.

Full details will be available nearer to its world debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in March 4-14.

View gallery - 7 images