New premium Audi electric supermini on the way

Audi ready to expand its e-tron portfolio with a new all-electric supermini model, which will sit on the VW Group’s MEB platform

Audi is planning a huge expansion of its e-tron electric range over the next five years – and now a senior official at the firm has admitted to Auto Express that this wider range will stretch to a small car based on the VW Group’s entry-level EV platform.

Known as MEB Entry, the architecture was revealed at the VW Group annual conference last spring. It’s designed to support vehicles of around four metres in length, about the same as a Polo or an Audi A1, while keeping down costs sufficiently for these models to be able to sold from around €20,000 (£18,000).

Audi e-tron GT concept review

Responsibility for the project – which is due to deliver its first model by the end of 2022 – has been handed to SEAT and its chief engineer Axel Andorff. The focus on cost-cutting has led to speculation that the platform will be restricted to cars from VW, Skoda, SEAT and a Chinese sub-brand.

However, speaking exclusively to Auto Express, Audi’s board member for product marketing, Fermín Soneira Santos, said that the premium brand intends to use MEB Entry as another element of an extremely broad EV portfolio – everything from supermini-sized models up to the e-tron GT super-saloon, which is based on the running gear of the Porsche Taycan.

When asked if Audi is involved in the MEB Entry project with a view to launching a car based on it, Soneira Santos told us, “It is on our horizon, yes. It’s not yet designed, but yes, we have a chance to have cars on MEB, maybe tomorrow on MEB Entry, then also the e-tron GT. We have so many different platforms to choose from and where we can have input into.”

He added: “If you would talk about segments, Audi is going to be the one with the widest portfolio over the next years, compared with our competitors. We can go smaller and higher with less investment than our competitors. It’s an advantage.”

Our exclusive illustrations give an idea of how the baby Audi EV could look. They draw inspiration from a sketch issued by VW on a Christmas card, suggesting a radical roofline that still manages to accommodate the slightly higher floor that is needed to house the car’s battery pack.

Sources have told Auto Express that the cheaper nature of MEB Entry may leave less scope than usual for bodywork modifications – perhaps resulting in common profiles across more than one brand, as per the VW up!, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii. Audi would then have to rely on more premium cabin materials and in-car technology to help differentiate its version.

The new model could allow Audi to capitalise on an emerging sector of the electric-car market, where customers are willing to pay more for premium products with still-modest battery ranges. MEB Entry models are expected to have between 130 and 150 miles of range, but in theory this would be enough for the car to rival the recently launched MINI Electric and the Honda e – both cars that prioritise image and design over outright battery range.

Audi’s first car on the regular MEB platform – which is set to make its debut with the VW ID.3 this summer – will be the Q4 e-tron. Soneira Santos told us that more extreme ‘halo’ versions of that car are feasible, as Audi seeks to maintain enthusiast appeal during its transition towards a more electrified range.

“There are ways we can do this through e-tron,” he said. “I cannot tell you everything we have planned, and there are some things we haven’t planned to the end anyway. But you can just imagine a completely new platform, MEB, and it would make no sense to have just one derivative – the Q4 e-tron, with one certain range of powertrains. We will extend the portfolio and platform and have some emotional versions.”

Head over to our sister site DrivingElectric to read all about the Audi e-tron

Recommended

New Audi Q6 e-tron: details and specs of 2022 electric SUV
Audi Q6 e-tron - spyshot 2
Audi

New Audi Q6 e-tron: details and specs of 2022 electric SUV

All we know so far about the new Audi Q6 e-tron - which uses an all-new platform jointly developed with Porsche
24 Dec 2021
Audi S1 quattro Hoonitron is an electric drift car for Ken Block
Audi S1 quattro Hoonitron
Audi

Audi S1 quattro Hoonitron is an electric drift car for Ken Block

Audi has built one-off electric S1 e-tron quattro drift car for Gymkhana star Ken Block 
15 Dec 2021
'Audi is shaping up to become Tesla’s biggest rival'
Audi Q4 e-tron opinion
Audi

'Audi is shaping up to become Tesla’s biggest rival'

Steve Fowler highlights the massive strides Audi has taken in the electric car sector
15 Dec 2021
McLaren and Audi in “early talks” for F1 deal, report claims
McLaren Audi F1
McLaren

McLaren and Audi in “early talks” for F1 deal, report claims

Audi looks to use McLaren’s racing arm to allow VW Group to re-enter F1, with deal not expected until next year, according to the Financial Times
16 Nov 2021

Most Popular

'The best car in the world is Korean'
Opinion Mike Rutherford
Opinion

'The best car in the world is Korean'

Mike Rutherford praises Hyundai and Kia's joint win in Best Cars of the Year
16 Jan 2022
Kia EV6 vs Volkswagen ID.4 GTX: 2022 group test review
Kia EV6 vs VW ID.4 GTX - main
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

Kia EV6 vs Volkswagen ID.4 GTX: 2022 group test review

The Kia EV6 and Volkswagen ID.4 GTX deliver sportiness to the electric SUV sector - but which does it best?
15 Jan 2022
Top 10 best hybrid cars to buy 2022
Best hybrid cars - header image
Hybrid cars

Top 10 best hybrid cars to buy 2022

Hybrid power is the way forward if the car industry is to be believed so we've found the top 10 best hybrid cars to buy now...
2 Jan 2022