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Tokyo show: Audi unveils ‘A1’ Mini fighter

Mini series: Audi's forthcoming A1 will mark the Ingolstadt company's return to the compact-car class.

Metroproject Quattro concept looks set to transform into Audi’s Cooper-chasing A1

24 Oct 2007

AUDI has shown its hand with the hatchback it will use to take the fight up to the BMW-built Mini Cooper, unveiling an A1 concept at the Tokyo motor show today that heralds its much-anticipated return to the compact-car class.

Demonstrating to the world that the A1 will have a more aggressive and sporting demeanour than the discontinued A2, the three-door four-seater “Metroproject Quattro” retains much of the muscular coupe-like characteristics of the 2005 Shooting Brake concept but hones them into near-production form.

The final production version should see some of the Metroproject’s finer points revised, such as the LED headlights, lack of a centre pillar and the use of aluminium for the arches connecting the front and rear posts.

7 center imageBut this is the real deal, and in particular shows us what to expect with the high-performance S1 and RS1 versions that will well and truly rival – if not blow entirely off the road – the Mini Cooper S JCW and other models in the premium-light segment such as Alfa Romeo’s forthcoming Junior.

Some details to note: the Metro is slightly longer (at 3910mm) and wider (at 1750mm) than the Mini Cooper, with a comparable wheelbase (2460mm) and overall height (1400mm).

The luggage compartment holds 240 litres, which is better than the 160 litres on offer with the Mini, while the cockpit draws on TT-like curved and circular themes, has plenty of metallic highlights and includes a new interpretation of Audi’s MMI interface – a removable mobile device that acts as a control unit for the mobile phone, navigation unit, stereo, video and other systems.

A series of engine choices should be available with the production version, with the VW Group’s award-winning TFSI petrol engine the natural candidate for sports variants.

Fascinatingly, the concept car uses a plug-in hybrid version of the 1.4-litre TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which in a conventional – and in this case, upgraded – manner sends 110kW (at 5500rpm) and 240Nm (from 1600rpm to 4000rpm) to the front wheels via the S-tronic DSG gearbox.

It also has a 30kW electric motor positioned on the rear axle which, according to Audi, can deliver an additional 200Nm of torque under acceleration and transforms the front-driver into an all-wheel drive car. Combined, that is “tractive power” of 440Nm.

Adding around 70kg to the vehicle, the hybrid system uses lithium-ion batteries which enable a range of up to 100km in pure electric mode – a point Audi is keen to emphasise given the hatchback’s transformation into a purely rear-wheel drive car, something that BMW in Australia has emphasised as one of its rival’s key weaknesses.

The combination enables the impressive acceleration claim of 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds, a 201km/h top speed, 4.9L/100km fuel consumption and a 112g/km CO2 emissions average.

Other links with sister cars from the Audi sportscar stable (specifically TT and R8) include the use of magnetic ride shock absorbers. The suspension comprises MacPherson struts up front and four-configuration at the rear, while the steering is an electromechanical design with speed-sensitive power assistance.

Audi’s “drive select” system is also onboard, allowing the driver to choose either “efficiency” or “dynamic” modes for the drivetrain, gearshift characteristics and ride quality.

Braking hardware includes 312mm diameter front rotors, while the two-tone multi-piece wheels (with V-shaped polished aluminium highlights) are 18-inch front and rear with 225/35-section tyres.

As Audi has previously revealed, the A1 goes into production in Belgium from late 2009.

Read more:

Audi confirms A1 production

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