Downsized not down and out

* All-new small Audi * Comes with a big pricetag * On sale in October, from 13,500 (est)...

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What Car? Staff
10 February 2010

Downsized  not down and out

The success of BMW's Mini has clearly had a strong influence on Audi's decision to build the A1. As with the Mini, there'll be personalisation options, starting with roof arches' in one of four optional colours to contrast with the rest of the bodywork. Brightly coloured seat panels and air-vent nozzles give clues to the sort of things Audi will offer.

The choice of infotainment and multi-media systems some of them lifted directly from executive and luxury cars will ensure the A1 fits the bill for people stepping out of bigger cars. These are based on a modular system so that you can add extra features later. At the top of the tree is MMI navigation plus, which includes a rectractable colour screen, Bluetooth, voice control and the facility to hook up portable music players, plus storage for up to 20-gig of music files.

The A1 will be sold only as a three-door car at first (a five-door has been mooted', we're told), pitched at younger buyers. It's slightly shorter than a Polo, but the cabin length is the same, so there'll be no loss of legroom. The coup-like' roofline will curtail rear headroom slightly, though.

The electrically operated full-width tailgate incorporates the rear light clusters, which means additional lamps have had to be built into the sides of the boot so that the car can be seen at night when the tailgate is open. There's a double-decker luggage area with the option of storage boxes for the lower tier. A lift-up flap that latches into place helps secure shopping bags or small pieces of luggage.

Audi is quoting a start price of around 16,000 in Germany, which equates to a little less than 14,000 at current exchange rates but that's without air conditioning, which will be standard on UK cars. We can only hope for a big improvement in the pound's value against the euro before October, or some of the people who found the A1 so attractive in that website poll might find themselves being priced out of buying one.

What Car? Says
We can almost guarantee it will steal a slice of the Mini's market