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Report: Audi Planning Four A1 Variants But None For U.S.

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The minicar segment is about to explode, with new models planned from most of the major automakers including, for the first time, premium labels such as Audi. While most are heading down the budget road Audi will be launching an upmarket model to tackle the likes of the MINI, Fiat 500, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and even BMW's 1-Series. The new model is the 2011 Audi A1, which thus far has only been revealed as a three-door hatch but there are more variants in the works, three more that we know of.

The full A1 family will grow to include a five-door hatch, as previewed by 2008's A1 Sportback Hybrid Concept, a stylish A1 Cabriolet and eventually a sporty S1 model with quattro all-wheel drive. While not confirmed, there's also a chance that a gasoline-electric hybrid version may be launched and further down the track we might eventually see an-electric A1--but these greener models are still several years away at the earliest.

The regular three-door A1 will go on sale in Europe later this year priced from approximately $22,000. This will be the cheapest of the A1 variants, with the bigger and more expensive A1 five-door due sometime next year. In 2012 the A1 Cabriolet will be launched. This model is likely to feature an automated soft-top rather than a folding hard-top to keep prices and weight down. That same year the S1 sports hatch will be launched.

The S1 will be the flagship of the A1 range and come packing 200 horsepower and quattro all-wheel drive as standard. Power will come from a supercharged and turbocharged 1.4-liter TFSI engine, and torque will be rated at around 221 pound-feet. Complete with a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox, the new S1 should sprint from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds and reach an electronically controlled top speed of 155 mph.

Sadly, none of these A1 variants are expected to be sold in North America, according to The New York Times.

It seems, to Audi at least, American buyers aren't willing to pay a premium for such a small car despite models like the MINI and 1-Series selling in such great numbers. As foolish as this may seem, Audi does have a point, to some degree. The new A1 would have to be priced significantly lower than the A3, which starts at $27,270, and then there's the slightly bigger A2 on the horizon that would need to be squeezed in there somehow. Additionally, Audi is trying to boost its image in the luxury segment by selling more of its high-end models like the new A8 and upcoming A7 and launching a new entry-level model would be the opposite of what strategists are trying to do.

[The New York Times]

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Comments (6)
  1. Well that is not very shocking, though I am sure if the Fiat 500 does well they may bring the A1 here.
     
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  2. @NoNameDenton, the Fiat 500 has the advantage that it will be built in Mexico. The Audi A1 does not.
     
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  3. Yes, but since this is based on the Polo and the Polo is supposedly coming here in the future and possibly be built here, that means this could come as well.
     
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  4. 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.
     
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  5. Spot-on relevant question Swade. Helps to spot the attitudal difference between majority of Saab customers and SU followers as well.Based on facts; main alternative buy for a Saab customers is a premium segment vehicle-Quite consistent all around the globe. To mention brands respectively, I will never get an AWD. Makes car too heavy, and causes lower fuel-economy. With Dynamic Stability Control and Traction Control, it's hardly necessary anyhow.I have these in my MINI and have never gotten stuck, and never spin out. It's all compensated for, as long as the driver has some sense when it comes to the rules of driving in winter.
     
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  6. 221 lb.-ft?! From 1.4 litres??!!! There may be "no replacement for displacement", but it sounds like we're getting pretty darn close!
    But, why oh WHY do we always miss out on the coolest Audis? RS6, S3, and now S1?!
    Not cool, Audi, not cool.
     
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