Audi pays homage to Japan’s flair for miniaturisation this week with its new sub-compact metroproject quattro design study, which makes its debut on Press Day at the Tokyo Motor Show (October 24 – November 11, 2007). Condensing the premium quality, innovation and design progressiveness for which the Audi range is renowned into less than 4 metres of road space, the metroproject quattro could provide clues to the look and packaging of a future Audi sub-compact production car.

Power for the Vorsprung durch Technik study is provided by a modified version of the 1.4-litre Turbo FSI petrol engine recently adopted by the A3, combined with a lithium-ion battery-powered electric motor mounted behind the rear seats which reduces fuel consumption and emissions by around 15 per cent. The petrol engine’s increased 150PS output, up from 125PS in the A3, is delivered at 5,500rpm, and its 40Nm higher torque output of 240Nm peaks from just 1,600rpm. The electric motor adds 41PS and an extra 200Nm of torque, and when engine and motor work in unison the metroproject quattro is able to accelerate from rest to 62mph in 7.8 seconds.

Delivered via the widely acclaimed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, the impressive performance can, in the right conditions, culminate in a top speed of 124mph. With slightly more judicious accelerator control, a combined economy figure of 57.6mpg is possible, coupled with modest C02 output of 112g/km.

The metroproject quattro is able to derive its power solely from its petrol engine, purely from its electric motor or through a combination of the two, their interplay controlled by the highly intelligent on-board management system.

Clean running using battery power
If the driver opts for electric operation alone – a particular advantage for urban driving and shorter distances – the metroproject quattro is able to cover up to 62 miles at speeds of up to 62mph, silently and completely cleanly, before its lithium-ion batteries need to be ‘refuelled’ by a power socket. Energy released during braking is transformed back into electrical energy rather than being released as heat and wasted, helping to conserve resources even more effectively.

While only the petrol engine is running, the metroproject quattro sends drive through its front wheels, and while powered by the electric motor on the back axle alone it is effectively rear-wheel-driven. When the two operate simultaneously, the compact Audi is able to offer all the advantages in composure and control that four-wheel-drive brings.

More enthusiastic driving, which would call the two power sources into play simultaneously, is enhanced by a sophisticated McPherson strut front and four-link rear suspension configuration, electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering with a low energy draw and Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping technology which has won plenty of praise already in the TT and R8 sports cars.

The Audi drive select system introduced recently in the all new A4 Saloon, which enables the driver to fine-tune suspension, steering and transmission characteristics to suit his or her preferences, also helps to bring out the very best in the driving experience.

The metroproject quattro’s transverse ‘east-west’ engine installation, short overhangs and similarity in height to the larger A3 hatchback mean that its interior belies its compact exterior dimensions. Its four individual seats offer impressive leg and head room, and the discreetly illuminated electric motor incorporated within the floor of the load compartment, and visible when the tailgate is opened, still permits the provision of 240 litres of luggage space.

Remote control for virtually every in-car feature
The highlight of the typically meticulously finished cabin is the new, removable hand-held Audi mobile device, which not only offers mobile telephony, GPS navigation and audio and video playback, but also serves as the control unit for numerous vehicle systems which can be set and adjusted from outside the car. The driver can, for example, enter destinations into the satellite navigation unit, program the audio system or switch on the heating from the comfort of an armchair at home before setting off.

Using the same operating principle as the Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment control system that is highly regarded in today’s production Audi models, the Audi mobile device not only brings optimum user friendliness, but also maximum space efficiency by integrating several communications devices that were previously only available separately into a single unit. The handheld, touch screen system, which is able to recognise both Latin and Japanese characters and even decipher handwriting, communicates with the car by way of a WLAN connection.