The Metroproject Quattro is a design study for the forthcoming A1, Audi's first entry into the hotly-contested (albeit premium) sub-compact segment. But it would seem that there's more to this 'metropolitan' project, if you will, than meets the eye.

All has now become evident as the wraps are taken off Audi's latest concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show today. The Metroproject Quattro is a design study for the forthcoming A1, Audi's first entry into the hotly-contested (albeit premium) sub-compact segment. But it would seem that there's more to this 'metropolitan' project, if you will, than meets the eye.

For this is a mean green driving machine - with a healthy dose of 'Vorsprung durch Technik' thrown in for good measure. The metroproject quattro premieres a new drive unit for Audi: a 'fully independent' hybrid technology combining the strengths of Audi's 110 kW turbocharged 1.4-litre TFSI engine, driven to the front wheels by an S-tronic DSG gearbox, and a 30 kW electric motor mated to the rear axle.

Dubbed as a 'quattro' model, the 30kW motor is able to provide up to an additional 200 Nm of torque when the vehicle accelerates, thus when coupled with the petrol motor, kinetic energy is employed to all four wheels to achieve a 'dynamic driving style' - delivering power to the road the most efficiently.

The Metroproject Quattro hosts the ability to be plugged-into mains sockets for easy energy regeneration. Like many other hybrid vehicles employing electric motors, the Metroproject allows for zero-emission driving without use of the petrol unit for up to 100 km. Emissions and fuel economy is improved by around 15 percent over when running exclusively on the TFSI engine thanks to an automatic start/stop facility, energy regeneration and sole electrical operation mode.

Performance is barely harpered, with the 0-62 mph sprint achievable in only 7.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 125 mph, all while maintaining CO2 emissions figures of just 112 g/km and fuel consumption on the combined cycle at 4.9 litres per 100 km.

The design of the Metroproject Quattro is from where the A1 will inherit the majority of its cues. Described by Audi as 'simple and coherent', it is intended to appear as if it were cast from a single mould in its coupe-like form. Two aluminium arches highlight the car's dynamism, while a snub but aggressive front end with single-frame grille and 'lowered, embedded bonnet' leave few guessing as to the car's sporting temperament. The rear lights wraparound the side, poised beneath the hatch's crease line.

The interior is typically Audi with several interesting additions. A 'tidy, no-frills appearance' was aimed for, with air vents and climate controls seeming straight out of a jet plane. The cockpit and door interior appear to be in unison, linking from one to the other to coset the front occupants. High-class materials on both the dash and upholstery adds a touch of class and 'substance to the car's sporting character'.

Interestingly, the electric motor, which is 'discreetly illuminated', can be seen through a glass panel similar to that of the R8 when the tailgate is open.

Be part of something big

Audi Metroproject Quattro Hybrid Unveiled in Tokyo