Audi A1 to be launched in India

Audi India is planning to launch its small cars in India following similar announcements made by its arch-rivals, the BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

“There is definitely a huge market in India for such cars (compact). We are evaluating various options (to tap this segment),” Anil Reddi, Head (Sales), Audi India, has been quoted as saying by The Hindu.

The company has not revealed any date for the launch of the small car in the country. However, the new A6 is expected to be launched in the last quarter of 2011 and the new Q3 crossover by end of 2011 or early 2012.

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Photo: Audi A1 Sportback Concept

Audi’s current international product line-up has the A1 Sportback, which is the smallest Audi. Audi India, on their official website, has given the details of the A1 Sportback concept on which the production version is based.

The A1 sportback measures 3,954 mm in length, 1,740 mm in width and 1,147 mm in height. Under the hood, the A1 Sportback has a 1.4 litre engine and an electric motor. The combustion motor delivers 150 hp of maximum power at 5,500 rpm and a peak torque of 240 Nm at 1,600 – 4,000 rpm. The electric motor makes 27 hp of maximum power and 150 Nm of maximum torque. Also read: Mercedes A-class and B-class India launch confirmed

The India-bound A1 will likely get the internal combustion engine (without electric motor) alone, so as to keep its cost under check. The A1 Sportback boasts of enhanced driving safety with the help of a sophisticated chassis design.

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Photo: Audi A1 Sportback Concept

The A1 Sportback sports McPherson struts at the front and a four-link independent suspension at the rear. The large 18-wheels and 225/35 R18 tyres ensure adequate grip on the tarmac for sheer driving delight.

The interior of the A1 Sportback has an up market look and feel. The seats are sporty and come with integrated head restraints that offer additional comfort. The central console of the car has an integrated gear lever, a start-stop button, an Audi drive select switch and armrest with an integrated mobile phone pocket.

Audi drive select allows the user to switch to efficiency mode or to sport mode. The efficiency mode is designed for casual driving and the engine & transmission will respond gently. The sport mode on the A1 Sportback extracts maximum acceleration as well as better lateral dynamics for a fun driving experience.

Audi has loaded the A1 Sportback with features like an ESP-controlled front differential lock for adequate torque distribution based on the driving situation and has 312 mm discs at the front for superior braking.

Audi A1, when launched in India, will compete with the upcoming Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class models, currently being developed.

The BMW 1-series will be another potential rival for the A1 and is presently being tested. The next-generation 1 series will likely be launched late this year in the US market. Also read: Audi A3 India launch possible

The new BMW 1-series will be available in two body option; a hatchback and a coupe. When launched in India, the price of the 1 series could be between Rs. 18 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh. The Audi A1 will likely be available in the same price band.