Audi A1 teasers – Click above for high-res image gallery

We knew Audi had its eyes on the Mini with the imminent arrival of the A1 premium hatchback, but we didn't know just how closely they'd be following (or besting) the formula until Audi released a few more details on its new compact hatch.

According to the project's exterior designer Jurgen Loffler, the Audi A1 – earmarked for release next month ahead of its anticipated Geneva Motor Show debut – will be available in "a variety of colors, regardless of the body color of the car." Now that's taking the fight to the Mini, which can be ordered with a roof painted white, black, or the same color as the body, not to mention the host of roof graphics the Cooper available.

While Alfa Romeo doesn't offer such an option on its Mini-rivaling MiTo sport-hatch, Citroen notably does with its DS3. That's to say nothing of similar retro touches on the Skoda Fabia and Toyota FJ Cruiser. Looks like the Mini's trademark white roof won't be alone for long. Make the jump for Audi's official video on the design.


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PRESS RELEASE

Audi A1: An all-around successful design
  • New design: The shoulder line appears to clasp the A1
  • The color-contrasted roof arch is an important distinguishing feature
Ingolstadt, January 18, 2010 - The new Audi A1 is dedicated to emotional design, as two details on the body make abundantly clear. First, the shoulder line, also known as the tornado line, has been very subtly redesigned so that for the first time it
encompasses the entire car. Second, the new color-contrasted roof arch gives the silhouette of the A1 an entirely new shape and is simultaneously a distinctive detail for customizing the car.

This is new: For the first time ever, the shoulder line wraps completely around an Audi model like a clasp. It begins up front with the single-frame grille, extends over the front lights and the side to the tail lights and the rear hatch. "The shoulder line is the most important design element of the A1. The clear separation between the front, side, and rear has been eliminated to produce a holistic sculpture," says Jürgen Löffler, exterior designer of the Audi A1.

"This detail is best explained with reference to a track and field athlete. The more muscular and broader the shoulders of a 100-meter sprinter, the more solid his or her starting position. The broad shoulders of the A1 likewise give it a powerful road stance." Another important design characteristic for the silhouette of the A1 is the color-contrasted roof arch, which begins in the A-pillar, runs above the side windows and ends at the rear of the car. "The contrasting roof arch traces the roofline of the A1 when viewed from the side. This is something new that we are doing here for the A1," saysLöffler.

"The windshield is a bit more upright; the rear window, on the other hand, is more inclined and flowing, giving the car a very sporty and dynamic appearance." The contrasting roof line is an important feature for customizing the A1. Customers will be able to order the roof arch in a variety of colors, regardless of the body color of the car.