Most people would think that VAG already had an excellent supermini, or ‘city’ car, in the all-new Polo. Audi, however, has other ideas and is clearly looking at the lucrative MINI/Fiat 500/Citroën DS3 market for small, luxury cars equipped with a host of – highly profitable – options.
The new Audi will be launched at Geneva this March. Compared with the innovative A2, it’s, well, less ‘innovative’; but clearly an Audi enjoying all the high brand values associated with the badge, a front-wheel drive hatchback with peerless finish and the familiar Audi family ‘look’.
Prices in the UK are expected to start from £13,000 but you can expect to see this figure head ever-upwards once options such as the two-tone ‘roof contrast line’, leather interior, Multi Media Interface (MMI) navigation-plus system, a BOSE sound system including LED-lit woofers, DAB radio and the Audi Music Interface for iPod connection are checked.
Three engines will be available from launch: two petrol (86PS 1.2 TFSI and a 122PS 1.4 TFSI) and a 1.6 TDI diesel offering 105PS. All will be economical and low on C02 emissions (from 102g/km to 119g/km).
More sporting drivers can opt for either a stiffer ‘Sport’ configuration with lowered ride height, or an even more sporting ‘S’ - a risky choice on the UK’s broken Tarmac.
The temptations of the options palette aside, the A1 will be delivered, as standard, with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a single-CD audio system with MP3 compatibility, plus ESP (electronic stability programme) with a revised differential lock system.
A five- or six-speed (depending on engine) manual gearbox is standard, with the twin-clutch S tronic unit an option on the 1400cc petrol A1.