New Audi A1 – A Small Wonder.
Audi’s proud history of small hatchback’s is not particularly well-known. The ultra-light, fun-to-drive Audi 50 of 1974 was so good that the Volkswagen mothership grabbed its concept, called it the VW Polo, and killed off the Audi 50 a few years later. The 1999 Audi A2, with its aerodynamic full-aluminum body, was another marvel of light-weight technology, but it was overpriced and underpowered. But the Audi A1, launched in 2010, can be considered an all-round success.
Now Audi has launched the second generation of the A1, and have really pushed the boat out in terms of refinement, ride quality, comfort, composure and cutting-edge technology & infotainment. The new model has eliminated the three-door version of its predecessor, there is no more diesel power, and there will be no S1 hot-hatch. That said, the new A1 stands on a superior architecture. It shares its underpinnings with other MQB models like the new VW Polo, which brings with it a number of advantages. It is lighter, and offers the chance to include cutting-edge infotainment and assistance systems. As a result, this is where the new A1 shines brightly. The A1 can be fitted with an array of ultrasonic-, radar- and camera-based assistance systems, including an adaptive cruise control system with a stop-and-go function. A digital instrument cluster is standard,and brings the new A1 right up-to-the-minute in terms of desirability and connectivity.
There are 3 trim levels available in the new Audi A1 – Attraction, SE, and S Line, with an array of 8 colours to choose from. Multiple customisation options are available too, including the option to pick a contrasting colour for the roof, front spoiler lip and side sills. Standard equipment levels across the new Audi A1 range are generous, with the entry-level Attraction model coming with such standard items as, multiple airbags, Electronic Stability Programme (including ABS, EBD, ASR and EDL), adaptive brake light, remote central locking, engine immobiliser, TPMS, Audi Pre Sense Front, Lane Departure Warning, Hill Hold Assist, Audi eCall, electric front and rear windows, front and rear floor mats, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, split folding rear seats, ISOFIX, and a front centre armrest.
Engine & Transmission Options;
In keeping with the growing trend in this class of car, there are no diesel engine options available in the new Audi A1. However, the petrol engine line-up consists of a 1.0-litre with 116bhp (30 TFSI), a 1.4-litre with 150bhp (35 TFSI), and a 2.0-litre with an impressive 200bhp (40 TFSI). A choice of either a six-speed manual, or a 7-speed S-Tronic (automatic) gearbox is available with the first two engines, with the 2.0-litre available only in S-Tronic format.
My test car was an Audi A1 SE 30 TFSI (1.0-litre) finished in Mythos Black metallic paint, and fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. Over and above the entry-level model, this mid-range model benefits from the addition of 16” alloy wheels, leather multi-function steering wheel, leather gear knob & handbrake, aluminium scuff plates, rear parking sensors, cruise control….and more. The punchy, sweet-revving 1.0-litre engine produces 116bhp and 200Nm of torque, allowing the front-wheel-drive A1 to sprint from 0-100km/h in just 9.5-seconds, on its way to a top speed of 203km/h (where permitted). This wonderful engine is capable of fuel consumption as low as 4.2l/100km, while annual road tax is just €270.
The new A1 is a pleasure to drive, thanks in no small part to crisp handling characteristics, dynamic chassis control, and exceptional refinement. The cabin of the car is of the highest quality, with logically placed switch-gear, excellent driver’s seat & steering wheel adjustment, and premium-quality materials used throughout.
The new Audi A1 is priced from just €24,650 (ex-works), with my test-car specification starting from €26,550 (ex-works).