'We regard this as a technical forerunner for the beginning of the next century. It is also the draft of the future of the car which is only one step away from realisation,' he said. Boasting advanced aluminium bodywork technology, the world's first direct injection three-cylinder petrol engine and an automated manual gearbox, AL2 is being viewed by industry observers as a viable prospect for production in the near future.
When it announced the revolutionary space-frame A8 prestige model, Audi promised it would unveil a second aluminium car before the end of the century, and company officials have made no secret of the fact that they would like to launch a small car.
Audi also launched a host of new models and developments at Frankfurt - including the 1.9 TDI A3, the S4 and S4 Avant, the 2.4-litre V6 for the A4, a hardtop for the Cabriolet, and the new Plus navigation system which will debut in the range next year.