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Audi has revealed a new sub-compact car that is destined to become its new entry-level model within a couple of years.

Currently code-named Metro, but likely to be known as the Audi A1, it will be a rival for the BMW 1 Series and will also be gunning for BMW's hugely-successful Mini.

Its dimensions are 3.9 metres long, 1.75 metres wide and 1.4 metres high in comparison to the dimensions of the A3, which is 4.2 metres long, 1.765 metres wide and 1.42 metres high.

Not only will it be a rival for the BMW 1 Series hatchback but also the new coupe, thanks to its low-wide stance and pillarless roof arrangement with windows that disappear completely into the doors.

Power is expected to come from the Volkswagen Group's new 1.4-litre petrol engine that develops 150bhp and is combined with a 40bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels and reducing consumption and emissions by 15 per cent.

The lithium-ion batteries will give the car a range of up to 60 miles when used independently of the petrol engine.

With engine and electric motor operating simultaneously there is impressive pulling power of 240Nm from the engine and a further 200Nm from the electric motor.

This translates into a rapid 0-60mph acceleration time of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 125mph with 55mpg economy and a CO2 output of 112g/km.

Interior features include a hand-held device offering mobile telephony, MP3 and video playback plus GPS navigation operation.

The newcomer is being shown at the Tokyo motor show and is expected to be on sale here early in 2009.

French car company Citroen said it will take on German rivals with its new C5 saloon and estate models, which boast "Teutonic-like" levels of quality, styling and handling.

However, the advantage of the C5 will be its superior comfort and technology, the company declared at the newcomer's unveiling in Paris.

"Following the success of the innovative C4 Picasso, the new C5 also introduces a range of new features including a second-generation fixed-centred controls steering wheel, a seat back massage function and a choice of suspension set-ups," a spokesman said.

Due to arrive in the UK in a few months' time, the C5 will be Citroen's contender in the large family car sector, which is one of the UK's most lucrative market sectors with more than 330,000 sales last year.

The long, sleek body has sculpted lines and a high waist while the front end is characterised by the large air-intakes and incisive headlamps that flank the trademark chrome chevrons. From the back, the concave window and two-part boomerang lights give it a distinctive appearance.

Longer and wider than the model it replaces, the new C5 is 4.78m long, 1.86m wide and 1.45m tall.

The unusual styling is emphasised by the instrument panel design where annular needles run around each of the dials, allowing an electronic display unit to be integrated in the centre of each dial. A screen on the overhead console displays an illustration on start-up, symbolising the car, its five seats and the seatbelt warnings.

The new C5 also introduces a second-generation fixed-centred controls steering wheel with membrane-covered controls to provide access to key functions such as the cruise control, radio and telephone.

Citroen's traditional self-levelling suspension features springing and damping that adjusts to the road conditions.

A soft mode maximises comfort while a firmer mode stiffens the ride and there is also a sport mode.

The new C5 will be available with a choice of 127bhp 1.8-litre and 143bhp 2.0-litre petrol engines plus four HDi diesels including a V6.

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Audi's new compact car will rival the Mini
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 3, 2007
Words:624
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