Since 2010 Audi has been compressing all that it stands for into the A1 – a premium subcompact hatchback whose all-new second generation variant is now waiting in the wings.
Available exclusively as a five-door Sportback, the latest car features new styling “that combines absolute modernity with classic detailing drawn from the brand-defining Ur quattros of the Eighties”, complemented by infotainment and driver assistance systems “on a par with the contemporary full-size class”.
The car has grown significantly in length – extended by 56 millimetres, it now measures 4.03 metres. At the same time, its width has remained almost the same at 1.74 metres, while at just 1.41 metres high it retains a low-slung stance which is emphasised further by the wide track and short overhangs.
In some markets the new A1 Sportback will be offered in conjunction with SE, Sport and S line specification options; the S line features larger air inlets, additional sill trims, an elongated slit centrally below the bonnet with two fins and a larger rear wing. In the top version at launch – the 2.0 TFSI with 200PS which will be available only in S line form – twin tailpipes also add to the air of strength and purpose.
The daytime running light graphics of the full-LED lights “echo the dynamic wing shapes from sailing, known as hydrofoils”. The design of the shutters for the main light functions also draws inspiration from sailing. A low-set, concentrated look in conjunction with the small rhombus segments in the top section of the headlights aims to provide a sporty appearance.
There’s a choice of ten colours which, as an option, can be combined with a contrasting roof colour extending from the A-pillar to the roof edge spoiler; the exterior mirror housings, the side front spoiler lips and the side sills are also available in a contrasting colour.
In the cabin, all of the controls and touch-screen displays are driver-oriented. The display and the air vent strip on the front passenger side are integrated into an area with a black glass look. At night, the cockpit can be brought to life by an optional contour and ambient lighting package that includes LED light elements in 30 selectable colours.
The cabin is also much more spacious than previously, making life much more comfortable for the driver and passengers. Despite the compact exterior dimensions and the tapering roof line, adults in the rear seats still enjoy plenty of head and leg room. Luggage capacity has increased by 65 litres to 335 litres, and with the rear seats folded down, this increases to 1,090 litres.
Looking to the digital future, even the entry level SE version features a fully digital instrument cluster with a high-resolution, 10.25-inch display and a multifunction steering wheel as standard. The optional Audi virtual cockpit with an extended range of functions presents comprehensive and diverse information such as animated navigation maps and graphics of some driver assistance systems in the driver’s direct field of vision.
The Infotainment concept in the car has filtered down from the full-size class. The MMI radio plus comes as standard – it can be operated via the multifunction buttons on the steering wheel, the smartphone-style touch screen display in the instrument cluster or via the latest generation of voice control. All versions can be equipped with the optional Navigation Pack or Technology Pack, the former adding hard disc-based MMI Navigation plus with a 10.1-inch MMI touch screen.
The Audi smartphone interface, which is standard for all versions, ensures everyone on board is always well connected. It integrates iOS and Android smartphones using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into an environment in the MMI programmed specifically for them – and offers two USB interfaces (1x USB-A, 1x USB-C with increased charging current).
A Digital Audio Broadcasting tuner features as standard, and the Audi sound system and Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System is available from the options list.
The driver assistance systems also come from further up the range. They keep the car at the right distance from the vehicle ahead, make it easier for the driver to stay in lane and help with parking.
The standard lane departure warning helps the driver to keep the car in lane from a speed of 40mph. Also standard is a speed limiter, which reliably prevents the driver from exceeding a selected maximum speed.
Another standard feature is Audi’s ‘pre sense front’. The radar sensor recognises critical situations involving other vehicles, crossing pedestrians or cyclists ahead of the vehicle, even when visibility is poor such as in fog. The system then gives acoustic and visual signals to warn the driver.
At the same time, it prepares for a possible full brake application and, if necessary, initiates automatic emergency braking in order to prevent an imminent collision or reduce its impact. If necessary, the protective measures of the optional Audi ‘pre sense basic’ are initiated. The front seat belts are electrically tensioned, the windows are closed and the hazard warning lights are switched on.
Various optional systems are offered to make parking easier: for the first time, there is a reversing camera in addition to the rear parking system. The front ultrasonic sensors of the system recognise objects in front of the car and emit acoustic and visual warnings. The park assist system automatically parallel parks the A1 Sportback and, in its latest form, can also park forwards into perpendicular parking spaces, manoeuvring multiple times if necessary. The system can also exit parallel parking spaces.
Powerful and efficient engines
There is a choice of TFSI engines with outputs ranging from 95PS to 200PS, all enhanced by turbocharging, direct injection and a particulate filter as standard.
Three engines will initially be available: the 30 TFSI, a three-cylinder unit with a 1.0 litre capacity and 116PS of power; a 150PS 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with the cylinder on demand efficiency system (COD) in the 35 TFSI, and a 2.0-litre, 200PS TFSI with 320 Nm (236.0 lb-ft) of torque that will power the performance-focused top model. These will be followed by the 25 TFSI base engine with 95PS output. All engines can be linked to either a manual gearbox or the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, with the exception of the 200PS variant which uses a six-speed S tronic transmission as standard.
Audi says the chassis configuration “delivers agile handling and a compelling driving experience”.
The front suspension is a McPherson construction and a compact, lightweight torsion beam is used at the rear. As an alternative to the standard suspension, there is the option of a tauter sport suspension and an upgrade to a set-up incorporating adjustable dampers, plus a selection of other driver-focused additions including a sound actuator, red brake calipers and larger brake discs, and the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system which allows drivers to select from four modes that influence the driving characteristics: auto, dynamic, efficiency and individual.
Local agents Unicars expect the car to be in their showrooms before the end of the year.