Audi has used the Paris Motor Show to unveil a compact 5-door variation of the 3-door A1 project quattro car first shown in Tokyo last year. The concept, which the company says "shows another possible direction for forthcoming production A1", features updated hybrid technology which combines a 1.4 TFSI petrol engine with a 20 kW (27 hp) electric motor that adds up to 150 Nm of torque during acceleration and can also run purely on electric power for more than 60 miles on a single charge.
In hybrid mode the car achieves 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds with a 124mph top speed and miserly fuel consumption of 72.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 92 g/km. The engine delivers 240Nm to the front wheels via S tronic dual-clutch transmission (before the boost offered by the electric motor kicks in) and regenerative braking and an automatic start/stop facility further enhances the Concepts' efficiency—an overall gain of around 30 percent compared to when it is running on the combustion engine alone according to Audi.
Grounded by large 18-inch wheels, the chassis design incorporates McPherson front suspension, four-link independent rear suspension and a new active, ESP-controlled front differential lock which distributes torque in-line with driving situation to deliver sure-footed handling along with improved stability and traction. Braking is via large-diameter discs (measuring 312 mm across at the front wheels) and the company's "magnetic ride" technology, which uses electromagnets to precisely control damping, replaces conventional shock-absorbers.
Behind, the wheel, drivers can select from two specially adapted configurations for the drivetrain, shift characteristics and magnetic ride shock absorbers. The default"efficiency" mode caters for more sedate and (therefore fuel-efficient) driving and makes optimum use of the purely electric mode, using this system exclusively if the Lithium-Ion battery is fully charged and the distance is less than 31 miles with the combustion engine being engaged once the capacity of the battery has dropped to below 20 percent. The system is also able to plan ahead in this regard courtesy of a navigation system which can detect differences in altitude along the planned route, meaning the regeneration phases and areas where more power will be required can be computed before you start.
In the second mode—"sport"—the vehicle's electronics also harness the torque available from the electric motor to achieve optimum acceleration.
The technical innovation isn't limited to performance with the introduction of a second-gen infotainment and vehicle systems management system. Unlike the earlier Audi A1 project quattro study which used its own mobile control unit, the new system enables a (selected) commercially available mobile phone to be used for controlling systems like navigation and audio via a WLAN connection. The system also adds a security boost be enabling remote monitoring of the vehicle (so you can tell if you accidentally left the window open for instance) and it can even tell you if your parking ticket is about to expire and lead you back to the car.
The control interface inside the cabin consists of four fixed-function hardkeys for the Navigation, Telephone, Car and Media basic menus with four customizable backlit softkeys for additional functions. Read-outs are displayed in a the center of the instrument cluster under superimposed glass elements that provide a three-dimensional look and the driver can choose from a range of displays including infotainment, navigation, rev counter or a status report on the hybrid drive using buttons on the steering wheel.
The seating layout in the white and red appointed interior consists of four individual seats with the centre console designed entirely around the driver.
From the outside the 3,990mm long x 1,750mm wide x 1,400mm high A1 Sportback concept is marked by a distinctive LED headlight configuration that combines low-beam and high-beam headlights, daytime running lights and turn indicators in one flat housing. The same approach is used for the rear lights.