An Audi A1 prototype was caught testing for the first time as the four-ring brand pushes for a big stake in the mini premium segment.

Spies have caught the first images of the Audi A1 prototype being taken around the block. BMW-style black & white psychedelic camo cannot do enough to hide the Audi front grille. Just from these pictures it appears the car will have a longer wheelbase than its chief rivals. An Audi executive was recently quoted as saying several body variants were possible. Clearly this is a 3-door but a 5-door, a Cabriolet and a possible coupe/ roadster can be expected. Even an SUV cannot be discounted.

Engines would include a 1.8-litre TSI, some diesel units as well as hybrid or full-on electric. Drive would be placed mainly on the front wheels but a possible S1 might take a leaf from bigger S cars and use quattro AWD.

Audi is not yet at a stage where customers in the US are prepared to part with premium cash for an ultra-compact model. Therefore the A1 will not be launched for this market, not until such time as public attitudes at least improve.

Whether the A1 eventually looks more like the Metroproject Concept remains to be seen.