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First look: Audi extends its upcoming A1 micro family

One upmanship: Audi's hybrid-powered five-door A1 Sportback concept study follows last year's three-door A1 project quattro.

Audi reveals a five-door concept version of next year's all-new A1 range-starter

2 Oct 2008

AUDI telegraphed its plan to produce an all-new sub-A3 model dubbed the A1, which will replace the alloy-bodied A2 not sold in Australia, when it revealed the Shooting Brake Concept way back in 2005.

Then in June last year, when it revealed the three-door “Audi A1 project quattro”, Audi announced its plan to produce the all-new entry-level model, which is likely to be based on the VW Polo platform and will become a direct rival for BMW’s Mini Cooper hatch and Alfa Romeo’s new MiTo, exclusively at its current A3 plant in Brussels, Belgium from late 2009.

Now the Volkswagen Group’s luxury division will use today’s Paris motor show opening to present the “A1 Sportback concept study”, which as the name suggests is a five-door body style derivative of the upcoming A1.

The five-door’s appearance adds weight to expectations the A1 will spawn an entirely new compact model family that comprises three and five-door hatchbacks, high-performance S1 and RS1 versions thereof and perhaps even a new baby convertible to slot in beneath the new A3 Cabrio.

7 center imageThe five-door, four-seater sub-compact car is 3.99 metres long and 1.75 metres wide, and in hybrid-powered Paris show form is motivated by a 110kW 1.4-litre TFSI four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels via Audi’s S tronic dual-clutch transmission and a new ESP stability control-operated active front differential lock.

Assisting it is a 20kW electric motor that Audi says is integrated in the drivetrain and can deliver an extra 150Nm of torque under acceleration.

Interestingly, however, Audi says the electric motor is also capable of powering the vehicle on its own, “for zero-emission driving in residential areas, for instance”. Further, unlike Toyota’s current Prius hybrid, Audi says the A1 Sportback concept’s lithium-ion batteries give the vehicle a driving range of up to 100km in electric mode, and the motor can be recharged “from any power socket”.

Combined with automatic start/stop and energy regeneration function, the EV-only mode is claimed to reduce the car’s fuel consumption and emissions outputs by 30 per cent compared to when it runs in combustion engine-only mode.

While claimed EU fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are therefore quoted at a frugal 3.9L/100km and 92g/km respectively, Audi says both the engine and motor can combine to return 0-100km/h acceleration in 7.9 seconds and a 200km/h top speed.

Audi has not confirmed the A1 concept’s hybrid drive system for production, but it could eventually join what is expected to be a 1.4 to 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engine line-up, plus yet-to-be-revealed powerplants for the rumoured S1/RS1 versions that would rival the likes of Mini’s Cooper S JCW.

As we reported last week, Audi will also use today’s Paris motor show opening to debut its redesigned S4 sedan and Avant twins, which brandish the upcoming A6 facelift’s new 245kW/440Nm 3.0-litre supercharged ‘TFSI’ petrol V6. Due to be launched in Europe from March, the hottest iterations of Audi’s new A4 are slated for an Australian launch in the second half of 2009.

Finally, Audi will also reveal a concept for a low-emissions version of the A4, featuring similar fuel-saving advances as the recently-launched A3 1.9 TDIe.

Dubbed the A4 TDI “concept e”, the greener version of Audi’s mid-sizer is powered by a direct-injection 88kW/290Nm 2.0-litre TDI turbo-diesel that features “soft” intake valve springs, a new thermal management system and new fuel pump and air-conditioning compressor designs.

Described as a near-production study, the A4 TDIe show car also features a stop-start system that shits the engine down at standstill, an energy “recuperation” system that recovers power when braking and coasting and a modified six-speed manual transmission that comprises lighter magnesium housing and taller gear ratios.

Finally, low-rolling-resistance 225/45 R17 tyres are fitted, along with aerodynamic underbody improvements, electro-mechanical power steering drive, an electromagnetic steering servo assembly, electrically-actuated rear brakes and a lower ride height.

The result is claimed EU average fuel consumption of 3.99L/100km, CO2 emissions of 105g/km, 0-100km/h acceleration in 10.7 seconds and a 206km/h top speed.

Read more:

Audi confirms A1 production

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