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Sydney show: Audi A1 to start from $29,900

Sporting intentions: The hot A1 TFSI will be the most affordable high-performance Audi when it arrives Down Under next year.

New sub-$30,000 A1 premium hatch primed to fire Audi sales from 2011

15 Oct 2010

A SMALL Audi that is set to make a big impact on the German company’s ambitious sales plans for Australia was previewed by the German importer today at the Sydney motor show ahead of its 2011 launch Down Under.

The three-door, four-seat Audi A1 hatchback priced from less than $30,000 will line up against rivals such as the Mini Cooper, Citroen DS3, Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat 500 when it is progressively rolled out from the second quarter of next year, providing Audi with a new entry-level car that is expected to quickly become its top seller.

Audi Australia predicts the new model will ultimately help lift its sales by up to 20 per cent over the expected 14,000 vehicles it will sell this year.

Today in Sydney, the A1 took its place on the Audi stand alongside the new long-wheelbase A8L limousine and the just-launched V10 R8 Spyder and V8 RS5 coupe.

However, there was no sign of the hottest A1, the 136kW 1.4 TFSI, revealed at the recent Paris motor show, with Audi Australia not launching that variant until the second half of next year.

7 center imageFrom top: Audi A1 1.4 TFSI interior, Audi A8L, Audi R8 Spyder, Audi RS5.

Instead, Audi is showing the mainstream 90kW/230Nm 1.4-litre TFSI petrol A1 that, along with the 66kW/230Nm 1.6-litre diesel version, will spearhead the luxury hatchback’s drive into the Australian market.

The petrol engine comes with a choice of six-speed manual gearbox or S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission, with prices starting from $29,900 for the 1.4 TFSI Attaction manual, stepping up to $32,250 for the auto, and $32,650 for the manual Ambition and $35,000 for the Ambition auto.

When it arrives, the diesel will be mated to the same S-Tronic transmission or a five-speed manual.

Thanks to fuel-saving measures such as idle-stop and electricity recuperation, Audi claims a handy 5.3 litres per 100km fuel economy for the petrol car, and impressive 3.9L/100km for the diesel.

As well having standard sports seats, the A1 will be wide open for personalisation, with Audi set to offer a large range of gizmos and trim finishes – including several colour combos for the curving roof-arch trim wrapping from the A-pillar to C-pillar.

Audi Australia has already confirmed that the standard A1 range will be enhanced in the second half of next year by the 136kW A1 TFSI which uses the same potent dual-charge four-cylinder engine as the VW Polo GTI.

The hot A1 will provide an entry portal to Audi’s high-performance line-up that now also includes – at the top end – the $376,100 R8 Spyder supercar and $175,300 RS5 coupe, both of which made their motor show debut in Sydney.

With its muscular proportions, gulping air scoops and business-like stance, the drop-top R8 Spyder is set to become a crowd favourite at the show.

Powered by fellow Volkswagen partner company Lamborghini’s 5.2-litre V10, which develops 386kW of power at 8000rpm and 530Nm of torque at 6500rpm, the R8 Spyder can blast to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds – just 0.2 seconds slower than the R8 Coupe.

Built on an aluminium spaceframe with a lightweight skin of aluminium and carbon-fibre, the Spyder puts the power to the road via Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system.

The Spyder comes in two specifications – the six-speed manual at $376,100 and the six-speed R-Tronic automated gearbox version at $392,000.

Also on the Audi launch pad at the show is the company’s answer to BMW’s M3 and Mercedes-Benz’s C63, the RS5 Coupe.

The two-door sports coupe – based on Audi’s mid-sized A5 – is packed with a 331kW version of Audi’s 4.2-litre V8 hooked up exclusively to a dual-clutch seven-speed S-Tronic transmission.

The free-revving normally aspirated V8 spins all the way to 8500rpm, hitting maximum power at 8250rpm and peak torque between 4000rpm and 6000rpm.

This is good for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.6 seconds.

For those wanting a somewhat more relaxed mode of transport, Audi is also previewing its A8L stretched limo that is set to cap the flagship A8 range when it arrives in Australia in the first quarter of next year.

Longer by 130mm than the standard 5131mm A8, the A8L will also mark the debut of Audi’s impressive 4.2-litre TDI V8 diesel engine, which is also going into Audi’s Q7 SUV (along with the latest 176kW 3.0-litre TDI diesel and 245kW 3.0-litre TFSI petrol V6).

The V8 diesel produces 240kW of power, 650Nm of torque and 9.4L/100km fuel efficiency, and is said to power the aluminium-bodied luxury car from zero to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds.

As well, the A8L will offer the same engines as the existing A8 – a 3.0-litre TDI diesel and 257kW 4.2-litre petrol V8.

Pricing and full specifications for the A8L will be announced closer to launch.

Audi’s Q7 SUV gets three new engines and a new eight-speed tiptronic transmission. With a new 3.0 TFSI V6 petrol engine, a second-generation 3.0 TDI V6 and a revised 4.2 TDI V8, every Audi Q7 gets more power while using less fuel.

As well, a braking energy recuperation system is also standard.

2011Audi A1 pricing:
1.4 TFSI Attraction6-speed manual$29,900
1.4 TFSI Attraction7-speed S-Tronic (a)$32,250
1.4 TFSI Ambition6-speed manual$32,650
1.4 TFSI Ambition7-speed S-Tronic (a)$35,000

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