With R18-inspired A1 hatchback, Audi tries to connect the two extremes of its lineup

Audi A1 Competition Kit R18 front three quarterFrom the 503 hp Volkswagen Design Vision GTI to the racy SEAT Leon Cup Racer, we’ve seen some pretty amazing concept cars come out of the 2013 Worthersee festival, but none have been as unlikely as this Audi A1.

That’s because Audi says this custom hatchback is inspired by the R18, it’s diesel Le Mans prototype racecar.

The R18 is the reigning champion of the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. It’s powered by a 3.7-liter turbodiesel V6 with 532 horsepower, or the same engine and an electric motor in the latest e-tron quattro version.

So what does a purpose-built racer have in common with Audi’s cheapest production model? Not much, actually, but that didn’t stop Audi from trying to connect the two.

The A1 that was unveiled at Worthersee has what Audi calls the “Competition Kit R18,” an accessories package that will be sold to customers.

The kit, which is available in either red or gray, includes front and rear spoilers, new wheels, a redesigned center console, and a graphics package including the number “378,” representing the number of laps the winning R18 e-tron quattro completed at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Audi A1 Compeition Kit R18 rear three quarterThe add-ons actually look pretty good on the A1, but the R18 connection is extremely pretentious. It’s clear that the only thing this hatchback has in common with the Le Mans racer is its four-ringed badge, so why bother?

Carmakers like to cash in on their racing exploits, and sometimes the desire for increased sales overwhelms the need for taste. Just look at the Fiat Seicento Michael Schumacher, or the various Chevrolet Monte Carlos painted in the colors of Dale Earnhardts Sr. and Jr.

American buyers won’t have to worry about looking foolish behind the wheel of an A1 with “378” badges, because the littlest Audi isn’t sold here. When it comes to sporty Audis, Americans often miss out. When it comes to this creation, though, we’re probably better off being left out.

Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.
Cars

Honda’s Urban EV is shaping up to be a high-tech, high-style electric city car

Honda will travel to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to unveil a close-to-production prototype that previews an adorable, city-friendly electric car. The Urban EV will offer about 155 miles of range, and its interior is a tech lover's dream come…
Home Theater

Everything to know about Sling TV: Channels, pricing, and more

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Cars

The hottest of all Mini hatches is coming with a Batman-approved design

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the Mini Cooper.
Cars

Report: Amazon and General Motors may invest in electric pickup company Rivian

General Motors and Amazon may invest between $1 billion to $2 billion for minority stakes in U.S. startup Rivian, an all-electric truck company, Reuters reports. Rivian introduced the R1T pickup at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto show.
Cars

Ford F-150 recall: Fault could cause vehicle to downshift into first gear

Ford is recalling 1.48 million F-150 vehicles over a potential fault that could cause it to suddenly downshift into first gear. The automaker said it's currently aware of five accidents related to the issue.
Cars

Volkswagen’s hot-rodded T-Roc R is ready to shred its tires to confetti

Volkswagen released a teaser sketch to preview a hot-rodded SUV named T-Roc R. Insiders suggest it will be closely related to the mighty Golf R, meaning it will pack a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at about 300…
Cars

Audi’s Geneva-bound Q4 E-Tron concept will give us a glimpse of the future

Audi has released a trio of teaser sketches to preview the Q4 E-Tron concept. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show, the design study takes the form of an electric SUV with a muscular design and a tech-filled interior.
Cars

Tesla’s Dog Mode lets good Samaritans know that Fido’s A-OK

Tesla's latest over-the-air software update adds two features called Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Sentry Mode records footage and alerts the owner if someone breaks in, while Dog Mode runs the A/C so owners can safely keep their dogs in their…
Cars

Rock out in the carpool lane with Singing Machine’s Carpool Karaoke microphone

Carpool Karaoke fans can count down the days till summer. That's when Singing Machine's Carpool Karaoke microphone will be available. Connect the Carpool Karaoke Mic to your car radio to make your next road trip a mobile karaoke party.
Cars

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Emerging Tech

With CabinSense, cars will soon know who’s riding in them and respond accordingly

What if your car could know who's riding in it and customize the entertainment and safety options accordingly? That’s what's promised by the new CabinSense in-car Occupancy Monitoring System.
Outdoors

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.