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Geneva Preview: 2011 Audi A1
This is the new Audi A1 supermini which is set to make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, and will be available to order in Europe from May for late 2010 deliveries.Closely following the look of 2007 Audi Metroproject quattro concept, the production-ready A1 distils the essence of Audi into a sleek, streamlined body with an impressively low drag coefficient of 0.32 which occupies a road ‘footprint’ of less than four meters, without sacrificing space for four adults and their luggage.
Inside, as out, the look and feel of the materials epitomizes Vorsprung durch Technik, as does the on-board technology. This includes the latest, ultra-efficient TDI and TFSI engines backed up by start-stop and recuperation systems, state-of-the-art ESP with a new electronic differential lock and archetypal convenience features such as the optional Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system.
Not surprisingly the most space efficient Audi in the range employs the most compact and fuel efficient Audi engines, all of which compensate very effectively for their relatively small displacements with the latest turbo charger technology. The Audi A1 will initially be available with three impressively frugal units, all optimized by engine start-stop and energy recuperation systems.
The new 1.2 TFSI petrol engine linked exclusively to a five-speed manual transmission kicks off the range, its 86PS and 160Nm peak power and torque outputs enabling a 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds and a 111mph top speed, delivered with 55.4mpg UK (5L/100km or 46 mpg US) capability and low CO2 of 119g/km.
The more familiar 1.4 TFSI power unit is next up, and delivers its 122PS and 200Nm via the standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. Equipped with S tronic it takes the A1 to 62mph in 9.1 seconds, and on to 124mph where conditions allow, and in this form can match its smaller counterpart on economy and emissions, delivering up to 55.4mpg (5L/100km or 46 mpg US) with CO2 output of 119g/km.
Already renowned for creating the premium sector’s most fuel-efficient car – the A3 1.6-liter TDI – the 105PS 1.6-liter diesel is the third engine option, and via a five-speed manual gearbox uses its impressive 250Nm torque output to power the A1 to 62mph in 10.8 seconds and on to a 116mph top speed, while retaining the potential to achieve 72.4mpg economy (3.9L/100km or 60 mpg US) with emissions of 102g/km.
Thanks in part to these relatively light, compact engines, between 61 percent and 63 percent of the overall weight of the A1 rests over the front, driven axle - an impressively balanced load distribution for a car in the compact class. Combined with the short front and rear body overhangs, the sophisticated front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension and the latest generation Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with electronic axle differential, this facilitates a compliant ride and controlled, well balanced handling that is also nimble and fun.
Depending on which specification level is chosen from the SE, Sport and S line options available in Europe, the suspension controls either 15-inch, 16-inch or 17-inch alloy wheels and has either a standard setting for the SE, a stiffer Sport configuration with lowered ride height or an even more sporting S line set-up. Powerful all-disc brakes, ventilated at the front, and power-saving electrohydraulic power steering feature as standard across the board.
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