Audi has decided to take the fight to the hot-selling Mini by taking the wraps off its new A1 Sportback. The new A1 will be packed with technology and safety kit, as well as the brand’s latest premium features in an attempt to make it the most generously equipped hatchback in the market.
It is targeted at the new and young customers and aims to draw them to the brand. The outgoing A1 is Audi’s third-best-selling model in the UK and since its 2010-launch, it has been a consistent seller for Audi across Europe, as well. However, its rivals (such as the Mini) have done a much better job tapping into the segment's sales potential.
The new A1 is the smallest model in Audi’s range. The brand has tapped into its Quattro rallying heritage and given the car a dose of sporting design. A single-frame front grille and three flat bonnet slits refer back to the original 1984 Sport Quattro.
Like its Volkswagen Group MQB A0 platform siblings – the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza – the new A1 comes exclusively in five-door form and has grown in size. It is now four metres long and has more cabin space (particularly in the rear) as well as an additional 65 litres of luggage capacity.
Power for the A1 is provided by one of three turbocharged TFSI petrol engine variants (no diesel option is offered) on offer – a 95hp, 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, and 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre four-cylinder units that put out upto 200hp. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a seven-speed S tronic automatic 'box as an optional upgrade. The most potent 200hp model – the 40 TFSI – gets a six-speed S tronic transmission, as standard. The A1 will later be offered with a natural gas engine in mainland Europe.
The new A1 can be specified with optional adaptive damping and top models are offered with firmer sports suspension.
The car gets a 10.25-inch all-digital instrument cluster and a multi-function steering wheel. With the exception of the entry-level model, the A1s come with an 8.8-inch centre console touchscreen or a 10.1-inch touchscreen in top models. These MMI systems feature touch-operated handwriting recognition technology taken from the A8 range-topper as well as more advanced voice control technology.
The sat-nav system will feature an internet-connected location search (including Google's search engine or Google Maps). The MMI Plus package is also on offer, with live traffic updates.
There’s online smartphone functionality, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The car will also come with LTE tech, to boost a phone’s signal via the car’s antenna. Entertainment is topped-off with a choice of two high-quality audio systems, the bigger of which is a 560W Bang & Olufsen 11-speaker set-up that, claimed by Audi to be unrivalled, in this segment.
Additionally, the A1 comes with a raft of driver assist features, including pre-sense radar-based technology that recognises cars, cyclists and pedestrians, even in fog; to offer automatic accident mitigation. The same radar technology enables adaptive speed cruise control, which works at up to 200kph and can bring the car to a stop. The car is also available with a reversing camera, parking sensors and an automatic parking system.