Pop star Timberlake makes Geneva debut for Audi

James Franey is a special correspondent for Automotive News Europe
Pop star Justin Timberlake unveiled Audi's new A1 at the Geneva auto show. Photo credit: Reuters
Going green and small cars are the big buzzwords of this year's Geneva auto show ... so much so that now even platinum-selling pop stars are getting in on the act and downsizing to more fuel-efficient models.

Audi pulled off a marketing coup when it signed up U.S. singer Justin Timberlake as its brand ambassador for the new A1 subcompact.

“It's a cool car. It fits in perfectly with the modern city lifestyle like mine,” Timberlake told reporters at the official press presentation here in Geneva.

While the A1 is not set to go on sale in the United States, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler promised to pull some strings so Timberlake could get his hands on one.

“It's fast, it's sporty and it's still an Audi,” he said of a car that shares a platform with the Volkswagen Polo, adding that he liked the new model as it was also “environmentally conscious.”

Those comments mark a remarkable transformation for the millionaire musician, who has previously been snapped at the wheel of cars that turn green eco warriors red with rage.

Timberlake's recent vehicles of choice include a Bentley Continental GT, a Jeep Wrangler and a Lexus GX SUV.

But in an era when gas-guzzling autos can no longer be justified, the 29-year-old pop star says he now prefers to take a ride in nothing else but Audi's new Mini fighter.

Bentleys and Jeeps must be getting too expensive for Timberlake to run because he has not released an album in four years.

Still, with a burgeoning movie career ahead of him and romantic links to actress Jessica Biel, perhaps we shouldn't cry him a river just yet.