A trip to Beijing last month allowed me my first glimpse of the new Audi A1 supermini, albeit in concept form.
Due for UK launch in October this year, and priced from around £14,000, Audi hopes this premium product will take on and beat rivals such as the Mini Cooper.
I’d been disappointed in the spy-pics shown on motoring web sites in recent months, it appeared to me that from the outside it was nothing more than a face-lifted Fiat 500.
However in the flesh the concept at least appears lower and far more sophisticated and detailed a design than the small Italian.
Audi claims the A1 will be the sportiest car in its class with a unique and modern design, helped by features such as a low drag coefficient of 0.32 and wheel arches that can accommodate 18 inch alloys if desired.
Two petrol engines producing 120bhp and 85bhp from their 1.4 and 1.2 capacities respectively along with the 1.6 diesel in 104bhp and 89bhp forms power the new car at launch.
A range topping S1 will follow equipped with the turbocharged 1.4TFSI engine producing around 180bhp and 184lb ft of torque.
Priced at near £19,000 the S1 is likely to arrive around 6 months after launch.
China is an important market for Audi, demonstrated by the large number of long wheelbase A6 limos prowling the streets, and the A1 concept shared floor space with an R8 V10 at the flagship showroom.
Production has already started at the Audi plant near Brussels where they hope this car will become the best selling model in the firm’s history.