Audi dropped its tiny A2 last year after a disappointing five-year run. But Audi boss Martin Winterkorn is keen to do another small car, this time aimed at BMW's Mini. "Audi needs to keep on growing," he says. "Productive growth requires entering new segments. I believe there is room below the A3 for a new Audi model."
A two-door is a certainty, but the exact shape is not decided. A long-roof hatchback is the front-runner; it's purposeful, pretty, and without a direct rival-at least until Mini releases its Traveller. A sportier body style, sort of a miniature Audi TT, could be a second model. Audi also is planning an S1 version to take on the Mini Cooper S. The S1 would get a 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbo, while the A1 would offer a lesser turbo, or possibly a twincharged, four. Six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearboxes are likely. Will the baby Audi come to the States? America loves the Mini Cooper, but the A3's performance here is probably more relevant. Either way, the A1 won't be ready until 2010.