2010 Geneva Motor Show Preview: 2011 Audi A1

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The 2011 Audi A1 is finally here. After enduring months of drip-fed teasers, a couple of concept cars and even several leaks Audi has released full details and images for its new "premium compact" ahead of the car's official world debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

Audi has consistently boasted about the A1's high levels of dynamic and build qualities, going so far as to claim that the upcoming hatchback will be the "first premium automobile in the compact class," capable of outshining rivals like the MINI and Mercedes-Benz A-Class. To achieve this Audi has developed a brand new chassis for the A1 with a range of advanced engines offering strong performance in this class.

The quality theme is continued into the cabin, which from these initial shots appear spacious and airy. The instrument panel is suggestive of an airplane wing, with four round air nozzles reminiscent of the turbines of a jet. LED highlights, a customization program--including a separate paint choice for the A1's roof arch--and the MMI infotainment system all hint at the A1's luxury genes.

Other premium features include optional xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, an optional retractable MMI display, a Bose stereo system and a connectivity package for the later integration of an Audi map-based navigation system.

Four engines will be available at launch: two TFSI gasoline units and TDI turbodiesels, all of which feature turbocharging, direct fuel injection and engine stop-start technology. Power outputs range from 86-122 horsepower and customers will be able to choose from a standard six-speed manual or optional seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission. Fuel economy will vary between 43 and 62 mpg (estimated figures for combined European cycle).

The 2011 Audi A1 is strictly front-wheel drive, for now (a high-performance all-wheel drive quattro S1 is due at a later date) but it benefits from a relatively wide track and good weight distribution. Audi engineers devoted a great deal of attention to the distribution of axle loads during the development of the A1. Measuring only 31.89 inches, the front overhang is unusually short. Depending on the engine, only between 61 and 63 percent of the weight rests on the front axle, a low value for a compact car. The total weight of the A1 is just 2,304 pounds.

The front suspension comprises a MacPherson construction with lower triangular wishbones. The steering impulse from the electrohydraulic rack-and-pinion power steering, which is more efficient than a straight hydraulic system, is transferred via short paths to a pivot bearing for spontaneous steering response and precise, sensitive feedback through the steering wheel. The base model comes with 15 inch wheels but 16 and 17 inch wheels are offered as an option.

For now, Audi is being tight-lipped on whether or not the A1 will be offered to customers in the U.S. but given the popularity of its main rivals, such as the MINI and even the BMW 1-Series, there's a strong chance that the A1 could eventually arrive in local showrooms. In Europe the A1 will be priced from €16,000 (approximately $22,000).


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Comments (20)
  1. yeah i want the sport back. is an audi mini. who the hell wouldnt want that?

  2. Me.

  3. hopefully Audi dont drop the ball with this one. they need to make it RWD to get the maximum value out of the chasis and what i hope will be perky engines, although consideing the lacklustre performance of the base 1.6 from the A3 which will be shoehorned into this i dont hold out any hope. A Turbo diesel would be a mega seller !

  4. love it! it must be another hot mini~~~

  5. IMO, it's much smarter than mini))

  6. Wizards Lore, nobody produces B-segment rear-wheel drive cars.

    I'd be surprised if this model gets 1.6-plus engines. The 1.4 TSI develops 170hp, and other carmakers have 120hp 1.6 diesels (e.g. Fiat).

    The five-door's rear seat head room looks really tight!

  7. I see that the A8 led headlight styling is coming over, but confused why the A8 didn't end up getting the newer angled grill like this?

  8. "...(Audi) need to make it RWD to get the maximum value out of the chasis (sic)..."
    First off, Audi simply don't build RWD cars - FWD and AWD only.
    Secondly, as NaBUru38 pointed out, nobody on earth builds a RWD B-Segment car any longer - in fact, the A1 is on the same platform as the Seat Ibiza and VW Polo - (Hint - they're FWD cars too)
    Finally, Why on earth would VWAG spend the money to develop a unique platform for just one model? That kind of thinking is what got Nissan in trouble back in the 80's...

  9. Hi
    You have got to remember German car companies are very conservative.They are not run by some wimpy Lib that wants to change the look of the cars every 4 years.

  10. A1 looks HOOTT!! BRING IT TO THE U.S

  11. Been a big fan of Audi for over a decade but they're simply not evolving.

  12. I dunno if an awd S1 is a good idea because of the weight it would add.

  13. At least it will weigh far less than the MINI

  14. W/out those arched sheet metal surface to break the monotony, it would look seriously conservative and somewhat bland I think.
    1.4TFSI will be the pick of the lot.
    Somehow Citroen's DS3 would be a more appealing substitute pick..

  15. Looks like a great little car... I'm not amazingly keen on the dash, but the new styling certainly works well on these smaller cars (as opposed to the hideous A8)...

  16. A Audi, wiht 60 MPG (on the diesel) for 22K, Its fine if its small, I drive 35 miles each way to work, I would buy this in a heart beat. Bring it to the US, Prius works here, and they dont even get 60 MPG, and they cant stop.

  17. I will wait for the 2500 lb s1, if it comes in at $25K and is available w TDI. I'm sure build quality will be fine, but audis are known for their numb handling so don't think they're competing for MINI customers.

  18. Make mine a TDI!
    (Oh wait - Audi doesn't think it should come to the US...)

  19. Ugly!! Looks like the Audi designers were too restricted by Audio DNA to make an appealing small car.
    The front end is generic Audi. Nothing exciting there. The rear takes to the ugly rear-end design of the Audi Q7 SUV which is a horrible design. Trying to be clever the designers then make the roof edge from brushed aluminum which only confirms that they are out of ideas. The Mini has nothing to fear. This is car is too bland for the segment and will have the same fate as the A3 if they bring it to the US.

  20. I just don't like the radiator gille.

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