Click above for gallery of the Audi A1 Sportback Concept

We'll start our live coverage of the Paris Motor Show in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, but in the meantime the embargo dam at Audi has broken a bit early and released some interesting details along with a few images of the new A1 Sportback Concept. Hinted at by the Metroproject concept from Tokyo, the new A1 is a bit shorter than the A3, which is currently the smallest member of the Ingolstadt family tree, and aims to fill the premium small car niche that is currently dominated by the MINI Cooper. The Sportback's ace-in-the-hole may be its five door body-style, offering up a dose of practicality not found in the standard BMW-based MINI. Don't expect too many styling changes to be made before the new A1 is released in Europe as an '09 model. The concept sports what appears to be a new mild hybrid powertrain with a 150-horsepower 1.4L TSI engine mated up to a 27-horse electric motor. That combo sends power through Audi's S-Tronic dual clutch gearbox, which is essentially Volkswagen's superlative DSG transmission with a new name. Mileage is spectacular at 60.3 mpg (U.S.) and carbon emissions are low, just 92 g/km. We'll know more after Audi officially unveils the A1 Sportback Concept in Paris tomorrow.

[Source: CarScoop]

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