Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
2 minute read
26 May 2015
8:00 am

Audi A1 gets a small makeover

Mark Jones

Audi is not known for getting all daring or controversial when it comes to their midlife cycle product improvements and the new A1 and A1 Sportback are no exceptions.

The Audi A1. Picture: Supplied.

But when you have your No 1-selling model outselling your premium competitor (the Mini) by three to one, why would you go and mess with this winning formula? So don’t be too surprised if you don’t immediately pick up on what has changed with the new A1. The styling cues are subtle but they are there in the form of a new front bumper, grill, headlights and foglights, plus rear diffuser treatment.

The interior for all intents and purposes has remained pretty much the same. Does this approach work? Sure. I like the sharper styling direction Audi is moving towards and the interior of an Audi has always been a high-quality environment you don’t mind spending time in.

The Audi A1. Picture: Supplied.

The Audi A1. Picture: Supplied.

But before you think this is just more of the same good stuff, there are about 250 000 various colour and spec options you can end up choosing from to truly personalise your A1, thanks to the likes of S line goodies and even an optional Active Pack that gives your A1 a bit of an all-road look.

The actual big news though is under the hood, so to speak, with an Audi world-first three-cylinder 70kW and 160Nm engine replacing the previous 63kW 1.2 TFSI mill. This engine is said to be good enough for a 4.3 litres/100km claimed combined fuel consumption and comes in S tronic and manual formats.

The 1.4 TFSI slotting into the midrange has been tweaked to 92kW from 90kW with 200Nm on tap, along with a claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.0 litres/100km and is also available in S tronic and manual formats. While a new 141kW/250Nm 1.8 TFSI replaces the old high-powered 136kW 1.4 TFSI, it comes only in S tronic and is said to consume only 5.6 litres/100km of fuel in the combined cycle.

The Audi A1. Picture: Supplied.

The Audi A1. Picture: Supplied.

The 170kW/350Nm 2.0 TFSI S1 which was launched late last year continues to be offered as a six-speed manual-only option in South Africa. No diesel models are planned for now.

Electromechanical power steering is standard across the range now, as is Audi Drive Select on some models and an option on others. I drove the 1.0 TFSI, 1.4 TFSI and 1.8 TFSI on the launch and each and every one of them felt very similar in terms of steering feel and suspension setup and handling, with only the level of urge changing depending on which engine derivative I was driving.

The best way to sum up the new Audi A1 in my opinion is simply to state: If it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it!