RAC Cars News


New Audi city car being prepared for 2019

By raccars Published

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After a lukewarm response to the A2, Audi is bravely delving into city car territory once again with brand new model set to be junior to the A1.

The new, entry-level Audi will be available with a petrol engine or as an EV. A concept is to be introduced at the Paris Motor Show next year, with car expected to be aimed at the youth demographic, attracting a new audience to the premium German brand. The compact car will take on a range of market rivals such as the Smart Forfour, Fiat 500 and the Vauxhall Adam and is to be priced to sell, starting at £15,000. In electric format its challengers will be the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe.

New Audi city car uses VW platform

Development is underway at Audi's engineering facility in Ingolstadt, Germany, with the new city car based upon a modification of the Volkswagen Group's New Small Family (NSF) platform architecture, which has already been tested and proven in the VW Up, Skoda Citigo and the Seat Mii. Using the existing platform has allowed Audi to conserve resources, particularly as it has already been designed to work as a base for electric cars with the VW e-Up.

Previous A2s

Audi has already made a couple of assaults on the city car market, starting with 2011's A2 concept, created to rival the BMW i3. Resurrecting the name previously used for its unsuccessful 1999-2004 entry-level hatchback, the A2 concept was designed with an electric powertrain in mind but by 2013 Audi had come to the conclusion that the expense of lithium ion batteries negated any commercial case. In 2013 a couple of electric micro cars were introduced as concept at that year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

The original A2 of 1999 did not perform well, with divisive looks and innovative engineering which the public was not quite ready to accept. However its lightweight construction techniques, smooth aerodynamics and frugal use of fuel have become standard since then.

The forthcoming new Audi city car will be the brand's smallest and cheapest model. It is expected to be available as a three door model or as a more practical five door hatchback. Audi is also mulling over the possibility of offering an Allroad version of the compact model, featuring the rugged body kit and elevated ride height used on its other Allroad variants. We are unlikely to see a quattro model as the NSF platform has been engineered for a front wheel drive set-up only.

A new three cylinder 1.0 litre turbo petrol engine is being developed for the car, while the EV variant is expected to follow the VW e-Up's lithium ion batteries and electric motor configuration. Audi has decided that it would be prohibitively expensive to develop diesel and hybrid versions of the car.

The electric version of the Audi city car will be far more expensive, probably £25,000 or more. However the car will be eligible for the Government's zero emissions subsidy in the UK, saving buyers £5,000.

h-tron hydrogen car

Meanwhile Audi has been looking at exploiting hydrogen fuel technology, with an h-tron quattro concept introduced at the Detroit Motor Show this month. The h-tron uses a hydrogen fuel cell with 110kW of power and backed up by a 100kW battery. Its range is superior to the average electric car at 373 miles, with fuel economy of about 62 miles for every kilo of hydrogen. The h-tron is said to offer about 308bhp and sub-seven second 0-62mph time. In addition to its clean and green powertrain, the h-tron pioneered new autonomous driving technology.

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