What is it?
Audi's first proper supermini for more than 30 years – and the first to come to the UK.
Taking on the big guns
The A1 is aimed unashamedly at BMW's Mini, and will be available with similar personalisation options: from contrasting-colour roof arches, air-vent nozzles and seat panels to upmarket multimedia and infotainment systems.
The A1 shares its powertrains, chassis, crash structures and electrical architecture with the VW Polo.
Its four engines are ideally suited to the downsizing trend that's behind Audi's decision to offer a car as small as the A1. All are small-capacity direct-injection turbocharged units, promising good mpg with no loss of driveability.
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> Image 3: click for a larger view
There's also a 104bhp version of this engine, but the two most important offerings for the UK (with taxation and fuel prices in mind) will be the TFSI petrol units.
An engine stop-start system that helps save fuel in urban traffic is standard, as is brake energy recovery to lighten the load on the electrical system. You're even given a bit of coaching in the art of economical driving through the 'driver information centre'.
Three-door first, five-door possible
The A1 will be sold only as a three-door car at first, but a five-door has been 'mooted' and it would be no surprise to see a convertible and a hot S1 in the future.
Expect prices to start at around £13,000, which seems okay value to us (for an Audi).
Audi's previous attempt at a supermini was back in the mid-1970s, when it created the Audi 50 from the platform of what eventually became the original Polo. The complex and costly-to-make, all-aluminium A2 of 2000 is the closest Audi has come to a supermini since.