Audi Considers New Ultra-Compact City Car
Remember the Audi A2 city car? It was never available in the U.S., but it was released to critical acclaim in 1999 thanks to its innovative-for-the-time aluminum construction, punchy range of TDI and FSI engines and excellent fuel economy. Unfortunately, good reviews don’t always translate to good sales. Audi only moved just over 175,000 units during its six-year run.
Now, 10 years later, Audi is mulling the possibility of re-entering the city car segment with a sporty new model slated to debut at the 2016 Paris Auto Show. Automobile Magazine says it will be positioned against the Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo. The new car will likely be available as a two- or four-seater, and perhaps a more extreme version similar to the Urban E-Tron Concept from 2011.
But here’s the really fun part: A range-topping sport variant is also planned and it could be powered by the 200 horsepower 1.2-liter V-twin engine from the Ducati 1199 Panigale. Ferdinand Piech was reportedly the arbitrator of the deal with Ducati, who, in return would get a stripped-down, open-top version of the new car similar to the KTM X-Bow. But, as you may have heard, Piech is currently on the outs at the Volkswagen Group, so that plan may be in jeopardy. Lets hope it’s not, because everything about it sounds great.
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Automobile goes on to say that Audi will likely collaborate on the new city car with Seat and Skoda to build the new car using the Volkswagen Group’s MQB Architecture. Under the potential Ducati-powered wild child, both 110-horsepower three-cylinder gasoline and 100-horsepower three-cylinder diesel engines will be available. An all-electric version is also a good possibility that Audi hopes will rival the BMW i3and Fiat 500E.
Why it matters
Unlike the A2, Audi’s next city car will likely be available here in the U.S. The small-car market was essentially nonexistent in the U.S. in 1999, but thanks in part to rising fuel prices and a general paradigm shift away from SUVs, small cars have become a much more common sight on American roads. Hopefully, that Ducati-powered version comes along, because (and I know I’m repeating myself here) it sounds really, really awesome.
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