The new Audi A1 is like a two-year old that grew a full shoe size overnight. But in the A1’s case it has taken nine long years. Like any toddler it’s also starting to get expensive, but at the same time developing into a rather advanced and interesting concept. I took the three tier Audi A1 line-up for a spin in Tasmania recently, it was fun, I don’t know why there are so many Tasmania jokes.
What is it?
A German made hatchback, with a new design and the very latest in technology. It’s supposed to drag people away from more mainstream brands, it’s for people who long for a glamour badge but can’t really afford it.
Having said that, the new A1 is a great little machine. There are three engine types and variants, with a proper spread of power, equipment and bling.
All Audi A1’s have five doors now, plus find themselves 55mm longer with the most important figure being an increase of 94mm when it comes to the wheelbase.
Behind the Wheel
There are three models to choose from. The 30 TFSI, 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI. All turbocharged petrol units ranging from a 1.0L three-cylinder unit to 1.5L and 2.0L. All engines performed very well as we headed south from Hobart. None lacked any overtaking prowess. Although each obviously requires slightly different timing, when it comes to the 4000 grey nomads down there.
The A1 is well-balanced, it’s one of the few Audis I felt totally connected with. It was nice to enjoy more of a raw experience minus the trickery of the outstanding quattro system and adaptive suspension. It goes to show Audi can fine tune a car’s dynamics, just as well as other well-known German brands.
The A1 range kicks off with the turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder 30 TFSI that produces 85kW / 200Nm of torque. It’s hitched to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic. Moving up a level sees you in the turbocharged four-cylinder 1.5L 35 TFSI that bumps power up to 110kW and 250Nm of torque. It’s also matched to the seven-speed.
The 40 TFSI takes it to a new level with 147kW and 320Nm of torque, but it drops a cog with a six-speed S tronic transmission fitted. It will dash to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds, which is properly quick!
This is where the A1 has really come of age. On the safety front the city hatch scores AEB with cyclist and pedestrian detection. Also standard is lane keep assist and Audi’s suite of safety sensor systems known as pre sense.
Cars are all about connectivity these days and the A1 really excels. Up front there is both a USB-A and USB-C port. The new Audi MMI system is displayed on an 8.8-inch or 10.1-inch touchscreen. The latter is an option on the 35 TFSI and standard on the 45 TFSI.
Wireless Apple CarPlay is offered for free on the two top models as well. If you like your apps, well Audi Connect Plus may interest you. Using an online connection, you’re able to perform a range of tasks away from and in the car, such as inputting an address before you get in.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is displayed via a 10.25-inch instrument cluster except on the 30 TFSI.
Pricing begins at $32,350 for the 30, $35,290 for the 35 and $46,450 for the 40. Two different $2,990 style packages can be purchased that add LED headlights plus larger alloy wheels for the first two models. There’s also a $3200 Technik package for the mid spec model that adds the advanced MMI navigation system and other tech goodies. If you want a black roof add $890.
Fuel consumption is good all round with a claimed figure of 5.4L/100km for the 30 TFSI, 5.8L/100km for the 35 TFSI and 6.4L/100km.
Why would you buy one?
Because the Audi A1 is now a genuinely good-sized product, boot space is now 335-litres! Or you couldn’t afford an A2.
This is a great range to launch with. All have their strengths and weaknesses, but at each price point you’ll walk away with a very balanced car to suit your needs. For those shocked by the pricing, just remember it’s almost half a size bigger. Plus, it’s still German. It’s an 8 out of 10 from me.