Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler has effectively discarded the idea of creating a full-blown cabriolet version of the first-generation A1. The decision was based on the Audi’s internal business study that concluded that an A1 cabriolet variant would be too expensive to engineer and produce without any open-top models from Volkswagen, Skoda or Seat to share its PQ35 platform.
There are, however, possible plans to create a semi-open-air version of the A1 compact hatchback, to compete with the likes of the Fiat 500C. According to Autocar, an early design study of the three-door A1 with a retractable cloth roof panel has been added to the company’s on-the-road prototype fleet, supporting theories that the A1 concept has already been approved.
Autocar’s sources suggest that the new open-top A1 will be highlighted by a large, electric-powered cloth panel, covering around 80% of the total roof area. The cloth panel will automatically retract and be gathered in above the rear hatch at the press of a button. The open-top A1’s rear hatch will remain unchanged to make it possible to produce the car at a cost Stadler considers sufficiently low for it to be profitable.