Audi Gives Hints Of A1 Supermini At Frankfurt
|Topics: Audi A1
September 20, 2007
At the Frankfurt Auto Show, Audi AG released details of a jaw-dropping upmarket supermini dubbed as the A1. The future coupe is designed to take on BMW’s Mini division. The supermini coupe, based on the Audi MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) platform and Audi Shooting Brake concept car styling, is expected to be introduced to the market in 2009.
Michael Dick, Audi's board member responsible for product engineering, confirmed that the A1 would not share the radical, all-aluminium, lightweight construction of the A2.
“It will be a typical Audi design built in steel on the PQ24 platform [shared with the VW Polo and Skoda Fabia], but with a cheekier look. It will have all the features of the larger Audi models such as the multimedia interface. Even blindfolded you'll know it's an Audi when you get in,” Dick told Channel 4.
The Audi A1 will be engineered to rival the MINI. To be built in Brussels, Belgium with sales starting in 2010, the A1 would not come in a Quattro version to begin with: that and a three-door body will come later.
Belgium may have been one of the first export points for the Volkswagen Beetle back in the early 1970s, but not anymore. Now Audi is getting a plant VW has left behind. Because of VW's cost-cutting measures, a Brussels plant has been relinquished to Audi, VW's luxury division, which is in frantic need of extra production capacity.
Martin Winterkorn, who recently left the helm of Audi to become VW’s chief executive, asked the Belgian workers to slash labor costs by 20 percent. Audi even made the decision to upgrade the plant and use it as the production center for the upcoming entry-level car.
In due course, Audi intends to manufacture up to 100,000 units of the A1 each year. This will help the German automaker reach its ultimate goal of selling 1.5 million vehicles by 2015.
In October, a show car hinting at the production A1 will be revealed at the Tokyo show. It will be featuring 'a new interpretation' of four-wheel drive. Additionally, the entry-level version, at its market introduction, will produce less than 120g/km of carbon dioxide.
Other new models coming from Audi are a redesigned A3, due next year and to include a convertible, with an all-new A3 range following in 2012 ahead of the next-generation VW Golf. A Q5 compact sport utility also arrives in 2008, with five seats and many components shared with the new A4 and A5. Also, there will be a hybrid version aimed at the American market.
Asked whether the two technologies be combined for even better economy, Dick divulged: “It would be very expensive.” But is Audi working on the idea? “Theoretically, yes. We have a simulation on computer,” he stressed.
In 2008, shoppers will see the double-clutch DSG gearbox offered in the A4 and the A5, the automaker’s first use of this technology in a longitudinal engine layout. The RS6's twin-turbo, Lamborghini-based V10 engine in the R8 supercar is also anticipated. These new features will be mated to complement the Audi muffler, radiator, engine and the like.
And the Bentleys? “Audi is responsible for the development of Bentleys,” Dick said, “and we are developing an alloy structure for the next generation. The next A8 and the Bentley will be sister models.”
The new structure will save around 150 kg over the existing steel one. Asked whether the next-generation Continental models and the larger Arnage line share it, with suitable adjustments to size, Dick has this to say: “You will have to ask our Bentley colleagues about that.”
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