Audi expects the A1 to become its third best-seller in Britain after the A3 and A4 with annual sales of around 18,000 units, said Jeremy Hicks, director of Audi UK. 

All 2,000 A1s available this year have already been sold with some buyers prepared to spend between GBP23,000 and GBP24,000 (US$36-37,000) he said. List price for the car starts at GBP13,420 as of January 1 and including VAT at 20%. 

“Having a car in this segment will help us to grow our customer base in what is the largest market sector in the UK,” he said at the launch of the A1 in Berkshire. “It will open new doors for us which has to be good for the brand.” 

And he stressed that the ‘Audi experience’ must be the same for an A1 customer as it is for an R8 customer spending more than GBP120,000. “We shouldn’t discriminate against an A1 customer,” said Hicks. 

To emphasise how much the A1 is just like any other Audi he said that every car will be built to order and “not sold off the shelf. They are bespoke.” 

The 1.6 TDI, starting at GBP14,480, is expected to be the biggest seller accounting for about 40% of total sales with most buyers opting for the Sport trim, the middle of the three levels. 

The company is also putting a lot of store on the forecast residual value for the A1 which will add to its appeal and reduce the cost of ownership. According to estimates by CAP Monitor, the A1 1.6TDI SE will be worth 55% of its new value after three years and 30,000 miles, ahead of the Citroën DS3 1.6 HDI (49%) and Mini One 1.6D (48%). This equates to 29.6p a mile against the Citroën’s 32.1p and Mini’s 32.2p.