• More rear-seat space than the three-door A1
  • Custom styling possibilities inside and out
  • Six engines, from frugal to fast

Called the A1 Sportback, a five-door version of Audi's compact made its world premier at the Tokyo Motor Show, joining the three-door in the diminutive model lineup. The Sportback rides on the same wheelbase and is the same overall length as the three-door car, but is slightly taller and wider. As a result, the four-seat or five-seat A1 Sportback boasts more rear-seat space. Audi intends the Sportback for young urbanites, and consequently offers unique styling possibilities, connected entertainment and navigation options, and engine choices ranging from highly efficient to high performance.

Drivers can create a custom exterior look for the A1 Sportback with one of twelve paint colors, including the exclusive Samoa Orange, and optional contrasting roof and roof arch paint. Inside, the style package allows custom accent colors on the aviation-inspired interior, dressing up the door panels, jet engine-style round air vents and center console. Switches and controls are well-placed and high grade, typical to the Audi brand.

In addition to standard equipment like air conditioning, remote central locking, power side mirrors and windows and six airbags, the Audi offers a list of optional convenience equipment. Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, a panoramic sunroof, parking assistance and cruise control join several entertainment and connectivity options.

The optional concert radio includes an SD card reader and Bluetooth capability. The next step up includes navigation, while the premium MMI navigation plus includes a hard disk, DVD drive, voice controls, and a 6-1/2-inch monitor. Working with a Bluetooth-connected mobile phone, the Audi connect system offers unique functionality like Google Earth and Google Street View.

Audi offers no less than six four-cylinder engine choices for the A1 Sportback, including three gasoline- and three diesel-burners. All are turbocharged and feature direct fuel injection, yielding more power and efficiency despite small displacement.

The base 1.2-liter gas engine makes just 86 horsepower, but yields over 46mpg. The top gasoline engine is both turbocharged and supercharged for output of 185 horsepower. With this engine, Audi claims a 0-62mph time of 7 seconds and a 141mph top speed. The biggest diesel offered is a 2-liter that produces 143 horsepower and yields fuel economy of over 57mpg.

Audi plans to launch the A1 Sportback early next year, but has not announced plans to bring it or its three-door sister model to the US.

What it means to you:

The Audi A1 Sportback is a compact five-door hatchback about the size of a Mini Cooper. Although not currently available in the US, this small car indicates the downsizing strategy many automakers are employing to meet increasingly stringent efficiency requirements.

See more Tokyo Auto Show news.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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