Motoring

All-new Audi A1 driven in South Africa

My first Audi media launch took place in 2011 and it was for the A1, the brands latest entry point into the market.

Its premium looks and feel appealed to many customers and saw the A1 being well received by the up-and-coming. Now though there is a new A1 which boasts a more youthful and aggressive design, more tech and newer engines. I, as I did in 2011, attended the local Audi A1 media launch once again to find out what this little firecracker is all about.

The new design

The new Audi A1 features a more angular design than before and I do prefer it to the somewhat rounded design of its predecessor. Upfront the car features a large grille with dominant side vents as well as three air inlets just below the bonnet line, much like those on the original Audi quattro rally car of old. Down the side, the car appears to be slightly longer and that is because it is, by 56 millimetres. The angled C pillar stands out especially when you opt for a black or grey contrasting roof. The rear of the car also looks sporty thanks to new rear lights that feature LED technology. The eagle-eyed viewer will also notice that the day-time running light pattern on the front LED headlights is the same as that on the rear lights (LED DRLs are standard on 35TFSI and 40TFSI). The new Audi A1 is offered with an S-line body kit which adds the sporty bumpers as mentioned, one can also choose from a variety of rims to enhance the look of the car.

The interior

As with the exterior, the interior has also been completely redesigned with a more modern appeal, with the emphasis being on technology. The cockpit has been angled towards the driver, a standard 8.8-inch (10.1-inch with optional Audi MMI Plus system) touchscreen which handles all the infotainment functions is also angled towards the driver for more intuitive user experience. The system also offers Apple CarPlay as well as Andriod Auto smartphone integration. An Audi Digital Instrument cluster is also standard but can be upgraded to the Virtual Cockpit system is so desired. The model that I piloted at the event also had a wireless charging tray, a conventional USB and USB Type C port. The standard sound system quite good but for those wanting more, there is an optional Bang & Olufsen system available with eleven speakers and an output of 560watts. One can even opt for a 30 colour ambient lighting system for added fanciness.

The facia is uncluttered with buttons and looks neat, below the screen you will find the climate control system which has been integrated seamlessly. Overall the interior look and feel are that of premium quality as one would expect from the German automaker. There is also the option of having contrasting colours for the various inlays throughout the interior, for example; around the gear lever and in the door handles. The A1 also boasts a 65-litre increase in boot space which brings the total space to around 335 litres, 1090 litres when the rear seats are folded down.

 

The drive

The Audi A1 will be offered with a choice of three engine derivatives; the A1 30 TFSI features a 1.0-litre, 85 kW and 200 N.m motor, the 35 TFSI has a new 1.5-litre engine which develops 110 kW and 250 N.m and the 40 TFSI makes do with a spirited 2.0-litre that develops 147 kW and 320 N.m. All of the derivatives feature S tronic automatic gearboxes and manual handbrakes – which is strange but surprisingly nice. My short time behind the wheel of the 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI gave me enough information to conclude that the new A1 has been worth the wait. The ride quality is relatively comfortable, the 35 TFSI is quite zippy and the 40 TFSI is surprisingly quick. Both cars will, if left unchecked run well into the hefty speeding fine zone without notice, a nod to the refinement if you ask me.

Verdict

The new A1 is a vast improvement on the model that it replaces in all aspects; design, technology on offer and the ride quality. The car looks modern, it feels modern and the options are somewhat endless, however, they do come at a premium as one of the cars that I sampled had just over R130 000 worth of options on it. That said, Audi has developed various packages that focus on key elements, for example, the Comfort Package highlights comfort elements, Technology Package adds various tech items, the Sport Package adds sporty options. All of the packages can, however, be built upon depending on customer needs and budget. Audi says that these packages will make it easier for customers to choose the best A1 for their needs.

Pricing

30 TFSI                                   R359 900

30 TFSI Advanced Line       R373 900

30 TFSI S Line                       R388 900

35 TFSI                                    R429 900

35 TFSI Advanced Line        R443 900

35 TFSI S Line                        R458 900

40 TFSI S Line                       R488 000

 

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