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Audi Metroproject Quattro concept (2007): first official pictures

Published: 19 October 2007

Audi A1: the lowdown

Welcome to the new Audi A1. Or as it is officially known, the Metroproject quattro. It's currently tagged as a design study, but we've already scooped the prototype out on the road. This concept car is being unveiled to the world at the Tokyo Motor Show next week, but the embargo has been broken by some enterprising souls abroad, so now we're bringing you all the details on the new A1 a week early.

Is this a new A2 then?

The concept is a three-door, four-seater, but - like the A2 - it isn’t some cheap city car, but rather a premium product with a hybrid powertrain. Expect a B-pillar to appear for production but hopefully those aluminium roof pillars will stay. The side profile shows a low, sporty car, and Audi is keen to push the sportiness of its brand. They were banging on about it at the launch of the new A4 and officials can't stop talking about 'driving pleasure'.

What a pert bottom…

Ahem, indeed. Looking very like the Shooting Brake concept from the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, the A1, sorry, Metroproject quattro, has twin pipes and those distinctively styled rear lights, designed to resemble a space ship. Apparently. The concept is 3.91m long, 1.75m wide, and 1.4m high. The wheelbase (2.46m) is very close to that of the Mini's (2467mm). Make no mistake, Audi knows exactly what it's aiming for with this newcomer.

That picture looks familiar…

It should do. This is the official design sketch for the concept, and it’s exactly the same sketch that CAR Online got hold of back in July. Our man Georg Kacher is very well connected in Ingolstadt, you see - which is why he can obtain images like this three months early.

Looks typically Audi inside…

You mean well made and reeking of quality? There’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel like on the RS4, low mounted ventilation controls like those found in the TT and R8, and a few other lovely details as well, which we'll come to in a moment. The gearbox is Audi’s S-tronic (nee DSG) system, for rifle-bolt gearchanges up and down the box. This will be available on the production A1, too.

What on earth is that?

It's the Metroproject quattro hybrid system, more of which in a moment. Up front the concept car has a 1.4-litre TFSI engine developing 148bhp and driving the front wheels. And before you cry foul over the quattro name, positioned over the rear axle is a 40bhp electric motor, which can deliver an additional 148lb ft slug. Together that makes the car four-wheel drive. And despite the hybrid system, there's still a 240-litre boot. Which is bigger than a Mini's.

Anything else?

This Audi is rear-wheel drive. No really. During low-speed running, the car can be powered solely by electric power. And as the battery only drive the rear wheels, the Metroproject quattro can, at times, be rear-drive only. The lithium-ion battery provides a 62-mile range when in runs on pure electric power, and can recharge from any power socket. Combined with stop/start technology, Audi claims a cut in fuel consumption of 15 percent, so this car does 57.7mpg and only emits a mere 112g/km. Very handy.

Is it quite sprightly then?

It's fleet of foot as well as green of tailpipe, says Audi. The 0-62mph time is 7.8 seconds, and there’s a top speed of 126mph. That's all we've got so far. Well, apart from the Audi mobile…

Anything else?

This Audi is rear-wheel drive. No really. During low-speed running, the car can be powered solely by electric power. And as the battery only drive the rear wheels, the Metroproject quattro can, at times, be rear-drive only. The lithium-ion battery provides a 62-mile range when in runs on pure electric power, and can recharge from any power socket. Combined with stop/start technology, Audi claims a cut in fuel consumption of 15 percent, so this car does 57.7mpg and only emits a mere 112g/km. Very handy.

Is it quite sprightly then?

It's fleet of foot as well as green of tailpipe, says Audi. The 0-62mph time is 7.8 seconds, and there’s a top speed of 126mph. That's all we've got so far. Well, apart from the Audi mobile…

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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