Audi's smallest model line has now grown an extra pair of doors. The five-door A1, dubbed the A1 Sportback, is poised to reach European showrooms after the first of the year.
At just a shade below 13 feet in length, the A1 is quite small-it's about 13.5 inches shorter and 10 inches thinner than the A3 hatchback. Interestingly, it's not really bigger than the standard A1 itself -- the Sportback is about the same length, and only about a quarter-inch taller and wider than the three-door.
As a result, the five-door car is mechanically and cosmetically identical to the base A1. Up front, Audi's design DNA dictates full LED running lamps and the brand's traditional hexagonal grille. Behind that grille rests one of five engine choices. The top-spec gasoline engine, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, uses Audi's TFSI setup-which includes turbo and supercharging-to boost the motor to 185 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The other gas engines range in size from 1.2- to 1.4-liters and make between 86 and 122 hp. The A1's diesel offerings range in size from 1.6 to 2.0-liters and in power from 90 and 143 horsepower, while returning 62 mpg on the EU combined cycle.
Inside, the options range from mild to technologically sophisticated. Although base models make do with five-speed manual transmissions and cloth trim, top-spec models are available with seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions (depending on the engine), panoramic sunroofs, a navigation system with Google Earth capability, a 465-watt sound system, and WLAN hotspot Internet connectivity.
The diminutive Sportback might be little more than a European A1 with a couple more doors on it, but with the premium small hatchback game pretty much belonging to Mini, it could be time for America to see this model for itself. Audi still has no plan to bring the A1 range here, but we'd love to know what you think: Is there room for a Mini-fighter in the four-ring stable? Let us know what you think in the comments below.