Audi at the Paris motor show 2008

Published: 02 October 2008

Audi’s sparkling new A1 Sportback – a thinly camouflaged version of its 2010 A1 Mini-basher – as well as its frugal A4 Concept E and a rather large trophy were the highlights of Ingolstadt’s Parisian offerings this year.

Tell me more about the A1 Sportback

In essence this follows on from the Metroproject that Audi unveiled last year. Slightly bigger in five-door guise than the Mini, Audi is keen to play on the A1’s practicality as well as its aspirational qualities. There was the usual showcar frippery – lashings of chrome and some nifty but useless split rear windows – but peel all that away and you have Audi’s new baby.

As well as the three- and five-door models, Audi is also considering a soft-top version. A hot 200bhp S1 is a given, as are a raft of Audi’s cleanest and punchiest direct-injection turbo petrol and diesel engines. Expect mild hybrids to arrive in 2011.

What else is new on the Audi stand?

Audi flashed its environmental credentials with its A4 Concept E – worthy, futuristic and laudable, but nowhere near as exciting as Audi being presented by the Le Mans 24 Hours organisers a giant trophy to keep – which is what happens when you win the world’s hardest race three times in succession.

CAR’s verdict: Audi at the Paris motor show 2008

While the A1 is bound to be a sales success – how can an Audi version of a Mini not be? – and the eco A4 mighty impressive, it’s all overshadowed by the Audi’s motorsport record. Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello and Allan McNish – we salute you!

CAR’s Audi stand score: 4/5


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Paris motor show 2008


By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars