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Audi reveals rally-bred A1 quattro - for Europe

All-paw: Just 333 examples of the A1 quattro will be built, all in left-hand drive form.

Limited-edition all-wheel drive A1 quattro emerges from Audi, but won’t come here

Audi logo21 Dec 2011

AUDI has released the first all-wheel drive version – and the first 2.0-litre turbo-powered example – of its sassy little A1 three-door, but it will not grace Australian roads any time soon.

Bound for a restricted production run of just 333 vehicles, Audi’s limited-edition A1 quattro will only be produced in left-hand drive guise for Europe in the second half of next year.

The hottest A1 yet seen belts out 188kW at 6000rpm and some 350Nm of torque (between 2500 and 4500rpm) from a turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-litre engine from the S3 hot-hatch.

It drives all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a Haldex multi-plate clutch AWD system seen for the first time in the VW Polo-based A1.

The result is claimed 0-100km/h acceleration in an S3-matching 5.7 seconds and a 245km/h top speed, making the A1 2.0 TFSI quattro 1.2 seconds quicker and 18km/h faster than the A1 1.4 TFSI Sport released here in June.

The latter tops Audi’s front-wheel drive A1 range in Australia at $42,500 plus on-road costs, with a turbocharged and supercharged 136kW/250Nm 1.4-litre petrol four sending it to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds and a 227km/h top speed, making it as quick or quicker than the Mini Cooper S, Renault Clio RS200, Alfa MiTo QV and Citroen DS3.

Meantime, combined fuel consumption for the pint-sized 1190kg A1 Sport is listed at 5.9L/100km, making it more efficient than Volkswagen’s mechanically similar but much cheaper Polo GTI (from $27,790).

Of course, the A1 quattro is thirstier at a projected 8.5L/100km, but apart from its higher performance and the superior traction afforded by its all-paw drivetrain with electronic differential lock, which is also claimed to deliver improved weight distribution, the top-shelf A1 also comes with a host of extra standard equipment.

Riding on a lower and “much more tautly tuned” version of the standard A1’s MacPherson strut front and four-link independent rear suspension system, the A1 quattro adds Glacier White 18x9.0-inch cast alloy wheels with 225/35 tyres, huge 312mm front brake discs with upgraded callipers, a reprogrammed electronic stability control system and an electro-hydraulic power steering system with more direct 14.8:1 steering ratio.

7 center imageThe A1 quattro is painted exclusively in a matching white exterior hue – contrasted with a high-gloss back roof – and features sportier front and rear bumpers, curved red headlight ‘wings’, tinted tail-lights, twin chromed outboard exhaust outlets and quattro badges on its (black-framed) grille, rear hatch and roof arch.

Inside is Silk Nappa leather with contrasting red seams, S sport seats with quattro badges, a high-gloss black lower centre console, brushed stainless steel pedal caps, an aluminium-clad gearshifter, flat-bottomed multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, red-seamed floor mats, quattro-badged door sills and specific quattro instruments with white needles.

Other standard features include Xenon Plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, high-beam assistant, adaptive brake lights, an LED interior lighting package, automatic headlights and wipers, an auto-dimming interior mirror, rear parking sensors, automatic air-conditioning, cruise control and Audi’s MMI infotainment system comprising 14-speaker 465-Watt Bose sound system, CD changer, digital radio, Navigation Plus , Bluetooth and internet connectivity.

The first AWD A1 comes as a surprise because the platform that underpins it and the Polo was originally developed only in front-drive guise and Audi was reported to have canned plans for a quattro version of the A1 1.4 TFSI and an even hotter A1 called the S1.

However, although the A1 quattro should be the only AWD-equipped, a similar drivetrain is expected to appear beneath the upcoming crossover version of the A1 called the Q1, which will be Audi’s answer to the Mini Countryman.

Audi’s smallest model has also become one of its top-sellers since going on sale in Australia in December 2010. This month it received a 2012 model year upgrade that brought the Audi Connect in-car internet and telematics system and, for 90kW 1.4 TFSI models, standard Bluetooth hands-free telephone and audio streaming plus steering wheel controls.

A new $2000 Technik package available on Attraction and Ambition variants includes Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, automatic climate-control and rear parking sensors.

An A1 Competition Kit will become available here early next year, while the five-door A1 Sportback will follow the all-new Q3 crossover on sale in the second quarter, before Australia Australia lands five examples of the hardcore R8 GT Spyder, the twin-turbo V8-powered S6, S7 and S8 trio, the jacked-up A4 Allroad crossover and the A6 Avant wagon.

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