GENEVA - Audi may build a sporty version of the small, super-economical AL2 that goes into production next year.
The AL2 is designed to get 100km on three liters of fuel. But Werner Mischke, Audi's vice president for research and design, said it will be more than a 'three-liter car.'
'This car concept opens many possibilities,' he said. 'It can even get a sporty version. But we have not made any final decisions except for the three-liter version.'
Volkswagen is planning two versions of its Lupo city car: fuel efficient and sporty.
The aluminum-bodied AL2 will be based closely on the concept car shown at the Frankfurt auto show last autumn. The AL2 at Frankfurt had a three-cylinder, five-valve, direct-injection diesel.
'Besides customers for a high-economy car there are plenty who want livelier engines than what the three-liter car will have,' said Mischke.
He said car buyers increasingly want engines that combine fuel-efficiency and low-emissions with strong performance. Direct-injection diesel and gasoline engines combine those attributes, he said.
Mischke said that demand for luxury and high-tech features is also increasing.
'There are not many customers who only want the most economical car,' he said. 'There are very many who want a comfortable medium-sized or a luxuriously fitted, high-powered large car.'
The price of the 'three-liter' AL2 must be attractive, he said.
'We think it may be a little more expensive than an ordinary car, but not much more,' he said. 'How much has not been defined exactly yet.'
Audi announced last autumn that it will build the AL2 at its Neckarsulm plant, starting in early 1999. Production is planned at 50,000 units a year.