More news from the Paris Motor Show: Audi's just unveiled its brand new A1 Sportback Concept -- a hybrid car with some very unusual-sounding gadgetry.
Its most eye-catching addition is the second-generation 'Audi mobile device' system. This links your mobile phone to the car via WLAN or 3G, and allows you to control many of the vehicle's features remotely. For example, it's possible to start the engine and the heating system while you're lying in bed, and -- once you've got your clothes on -- to unlock the car's doors.
The Audi mobile device system has built-in GPS, so you can plan your trip before you even get into the car. It'll give you guidance as normal, and will continue to do so even when you've left the vehicle. That's fantastic news for anyone who often parks some distance from their ultimate destination.
Currently, there's no word on what specific mobiles the system is compatible with, but word is, it'll work perfectly well with plenty of phones that are commercially available today.
The A1 Sportback includes Audi Magnetic Ride. Seen in the R8 and TT, this does away with conventional shock absorber fluid, and instead relies upon magneto-rheological fluid, whose 'stiffness' levels can be controlled by means of an electromagnetic field. This enables the car to change damping levels on the fly using a special on-board computer. One moment the car can be in super-comfy handling mode, but with a flick of the steering wheel, it can switch to rock-hard racecar-style handling as required.
The A1 uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine, which drives the front wheels, and a 20kW (27bhp) electric motor driving the rear wheels. 0-60mph is achieved in a claimed 7.9 seconds, it has a 124mph top speed, and fuel economy of up to 72.4mpg. Impressively, its lithium-ion batteries can drive the vehicle for up to 62 miles without using any petrol.
We love the sound of this thing and hope Audi goes ahead in producing it. More as we get it, car fans -- and more pics over the page. -Rory Reid
The A1 resembles a typical hot hatch, but that's not such a bad thing. At least it doesn't scream, "Look at me, I'm a hybrid! Aren't I weird-looking?"
The interior is still in the concept phase, but if this look makes the final cut, we'll be happy bunnies.