The European premium subcompact market is about to get more competitive as Audi announces its new, limited edition Audi A1 that claims to be both the most powerful as well as the fastest accelerating car of its kind built to date.
The new A1 is not only the first to enter production with quattro all-wheel-drive but is also the first to adopt 2.0T engine, taking power up to 256hp. However, numbers are limited to just 333 examples worldwide, making it extremely rare and very sought after. Sadly, with the A1 not currently available in the US, the A1 quattro will not be sold here either.
The heart of the new model is the turbocharged and directly injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine derived from the Audi S3 and TTS. In this form it delivers a maximum output of 256hp at 6000rpm, and its 260 lb-ft of torque peaks between 2500 and 4500rpm. It enables the A1 quattro to accelerate 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 152mph. however, the lightweight vehicle is claimed to still deliver 27.5mpg US (combined cycle). Power is channelled through a six-speed manual transmission to the quattro all-wheel drive system with its electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch.
During normal driving, the clutch sends most of the engine’s power to the front wheels. If traction decreases there, the clutch can transfer torque to the rear axle in a few milliseconds. A pressure reservoir helps the electric pump to develop the oil pressure. If a wheel on one of the axles starts to skid, it is braked by the electronic differential lock (EDL). The electronic stability program (ESP) also includes a sport mode, which sets a higher threshold for intervention, and can be switched off entirely for track use.
The chassis of the Audi A1 quattro has been adapted, with the multi-plate clutch positioned on the rear axle in the interest of weight distribution, along with a four-link suspension set-up.
Finished exclusively in Glacier white metallic, complemented by 18-inch turbine design wheels, also in Glacier white, the car also has a high-gloss black roof.
It is further distinguished from other A1 models by an exclusive design for the bumpers, grille and its frame. It has red ‘wings’ within the headlights, a large two-color rear spoiler and two 100mm polished exhaust tailpipes.
Finishing touches such as tinted LED rear lights, tinted rear windows and a contrasting black for the rear hatch and diffuser also appear, as do quattro badges on the grille, roof arch and rear hatch.
The car is slightly longer than its regular counterparts, mainly due to the revised bumper specification.
Black dominates the interior, from the gloss finish on the lower section of the center console to the seats and armrests finished in black Silk Nappa leather with contrasting red stitching.
The multi-adjustable front S sport seats have pronounced bolsters, integrated head restraints and quattro insignias on their backrests. The footrest and the pedal caps are made of brushed stainless steel. Red stitching frames the floor mats, and the door sill trims bear A1 quattro badges.
The instrument cluster incorporates a number of eye-catching features, including white needles, a red-faced speedometer, a quattro logo and a color Driver’s Information System (DIS). The multifunction sports steering wheel is flat-bottomed, trimmed in leather with contrasting red stitching and sports the car’s serial number. The shift lever knob is made of aluminum, and many control elements have an aluminum-look finish.
The A1 quattro will be equipped with Xenon plus headlights, high-beam assistant, adaptive brake lights, LED interior lighting package, light and rain sensors, acoustic rear parking system, automatic air conditioning, a storage package, convenience key and cruise control.
Infotainment will include a CD changer, DAB digital radio, Audi Music Interface, hard disk-based MMI navigation plus, a 465-watt 14-speaker Bose sound system with illuminated woofers in the doors and Mobile Phone Preparation High with Online Services. This feature enables a Bluetooth-equipped online car phone to connect to the Internet and deliver special web services, including Google Earth, to the car. Passengers can also connect their mobile devices to the integrated Wi-Fi hotspot.
The car will only be built in left-hand-drive, affecting sales in the UK, which are currently undecided. However, the Audi A1 quattro will be available in mainland Europe in the summer of 2012.