Audi’s A1, their much anticipated answer to the Mini and BMW’s 1 series, will make it’s official debut next month at the Geneva Motor Show. Aimed at the growing (in the EU, at least) subcompact luxury market, the A1 will be launched with four powerplant options, including two 1.6 liter turbo diesel motors (one at 90 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque, the other at 105 hp and 184 lb-ft). Gasoline engines offered include a 1.2 liter producing 86 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque, and a 1.4 liter good for 122 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. Only the latter gasoline motor will be offered with an automatic transmission, Audi’s S-tronic dry dual clutch variant.
No threat to the Mini Cooper S, the fastest announced version of the A1 is only good for a nine second sprint to 60 mph. For reference, that’s two and a half seconds slower than a Cooper S and about half a second slower than the base model Mini. Still, that’s not the point of the A1, which is more about personal luxury and low cost of ownership than it is about strafing apexes.
Sadly, the A1, like the bulk of BMW’s 1 series, isn’t bound for US shores. Audi, like BMW, doesn’t see demand for subcompact hatchbacks in the US market, despite Mini’s success. Likewise, the Germans still don’t equate the word “diesel” with market share in the US, despite VW’s success with TDI Jetta models. Perhaps it’s brand dilution, since neither BMW nor Audi currently caters to the entry level market on these shores. It’s a shame, because we’re missing out on some great rides.
Source: New York Times