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 |  Mar 02 2010, 11:40 AM

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Audi really went all out to promote its new A1 at the Geneva Auto Show. Newly-signed brand ambassador Justin Timberlake gave Audi’s press conference star power, drawing one of the largest crowds on media day.

Unfortunately the pop star’s appearance was a little underwhelming in this reporter’s opinion.

Lesson #1: If you’re going to have one of the biggest stars on the planet promoting your brand, don’t stick him in a hole in the wall and out of sight of at least a third of the crowd. Just take a look in the gallery below. JT’s on the big screen, but if you look a bit to the left and squint, you can just about make out his hand holding the microphone.

Lesson #2: If you’re going to have a band set up on stage and you’re bringing in a pop star like JT, people will want to see him sing. They don’t want to see him introduce an alternative rock band from Sweden. Nothing wrong with Torpedo’s performance; they acquitted themselves quite well in fact. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be asked to perform when I’m the second most popular musical act on the stage.

Thankfully, the A1 put in a better performance than its co-star. Audi’s new sub-compact has MINI firmly in its sights. The small car (155.5-inches in length, 97.2-inch wheelbase, 68.5-inches wider and 56-inches tall) comes with four engine options.

Diesel options include two 1.6-liter versions with either 90-hp and 169 ft-lbs of torque or 105-hp and 184 ft-lbs of torque. Gasoline models get either a tiny 1.2-liter TFSI 4-cylinder with 86-hp and 118 ft-lbs of torque or a 1.4-liter TFSI with 122-hp and 147 ft-lbs of torque. Five and six-speed manual transmissions come standard, while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available.

But how does it perform? Let’s ask our man JT:

“It’s … fast. And, um … still an Audi.”

Lesson #3: Don’t let JT ad lib.

Gallery: Audi A1

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155.5-inches in length (with a 97.2-inch wheelbase), 68.5-inches wider and 56-inches tall
 |  Feb 10 2010, 1:05 AM

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Audi has just released info and photos on its new sub-compact premium model, the A1. Designed to rival the MINI Cooper, the A1 features Audi’s new trademark oversized grille, although from other angles it’s noticeably less cool.

Size-wise it is quite small at just 155.5-inches in length (with a 97.2-inch wheelbase), 68.5-inches wider and 56-inches tall. Under the hood there are four engine choices. Diesel options include two 1.6-liter versions with either 90-hp and 169 ft-lbs of torque or 105-hp and 184 ft-lbs of torque. Gasoline models get either a tiny 1.2-liter TFSI 4-cylinder with 86-hp and 118 ft-lbs of torque or a 1.4-liter TFSI with 122-hp and 147 ft-lbs of torque. Five and six-speed manual transmissions come standard, while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available. No acceleration times are given, but we’re betting that with the 7-speed and a curb weight of just 2,303 lbs the A1 should be a fun little toy. Much of that weight savings has been gained by tossing the quattro system in favor of just front wheel drive.

In terms of functionality, Audi rates both gas engines at 46 mpg in the European test cycle, while this tiny car delivers 9.43 cubic-feet of cargo room, which increases to a total of 32.5 cu.-ft. with the rear seats folded flat.

Like the MINI lineup, Audi is hoping to capitalize on customers’ need to be different, offering plenty of customizable options like LED lighting, different colored roof frame panels and interior items as well as an MMI system with a touch screen and 10 speakers totaling 465-watts.

Set to launch at the Geneva Auto Show, the A1 will be offered in two trims (Attraction and Ambition), with S-Line accessories joining the lineup of options soonafter. Pricing will be around 16,000 Euros.

Audi has said the A1 will not be offered in the U.S., but with MINI’s tremendous success on this side of the Atlantic, surely its only time before Audi delivers the A1 here. Who knows, perhaps the first “1″ in North America will have an S attached to it?

GALLERY: 2011 Audi A1

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Dec 16 2009, 11:06 AM

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Over the next several months Audi will unveil a cleveryly divised marketing plan to pump up interest in its upcoming A1 model. But if you live in North America, just ignore it all, as the luxury German automaker has no plans to deliver the car to the U.S.

Previous reports had suggested that the car was created with the U.S. market in mind, but according to an item on InsideLine, if you want an A1 – move to Germany.

The North American marketplace is only just beginning to accept sub-compacts en masse and the sale of premium sub-compacts is still in its infancy stages. And while the A1 isn’t likely to be the best thing North America has missed out on, we’re certain to really regret the decision if Audi ever does plan an RS model.

GALLERY: Audi A1 Sketches and Graffiti Art

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Report: Audi A1 Launch Countdown Starts Today With First Teaser Images

Audi says A1 will be first premium subcompact on the market

 |  Dec 14 2009, 1:49 PM

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Audi has just launched a marketing campaign that will culminate at the Geneva Auto Show in March, when the German automaker officially introduces the world to the A1. Audi says its new A1 will be the first premium vehicle offered in the subcompact segment.

Ahead of the Geneva debut, Audi will reveal the car and the details of it online in early February. For now, we have a graffiti version of a design sketch, to give us an idea of where the project is headed. According to an Audi press-release the hatchback will have a coupe-like silhouette and use a great deal of the design from the original A1 Sportback Concept shown in Tokyo and Paris.

“Audi is renowned for taking a lot of features of its showcars into series production,” said Audi design boss, Stefan Sielaff. “The roof arch is a unique characteristic of the Tokyo showcar; there is a certain dynamism in the flow of the A- and C-pillars. An important detail for customization; that much I can tell you.”

Audi plans to make its new premium subcompact highly customizable – particularly with the interior.

It addition to the sketches, Sielaff says the A1 will get an tyical Audi grille, but expect it to be even wider, which will likely bring the headlights further to the side and closer to the hood.

As the A1 will most certainly be targeted at a younger demographic, Audi has also launched a new A1 Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/audia1), a YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/audi), and a Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/audi_online).

We’ll be sure to bring you more info on the A1 as we get it and see if Audi has any plans to bring this new model to North America.

GALLERY: Audi A1 Design Sketches

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…