The cheapest new Audi yet, the practical five-door cuts few corners
First drive of the cheapest new Audi ever, the A1 1.2 TSI. Nicely priced at $26K — just don’t think about satnav
OWNING a prestige car is a lifelong ambition for many of us. To help achieve it, the Europeans are developing entry-level ranges that plumb previously uncharted levels of affordability. The Mercedes A-Class is such a car— but it’s not here yet. Audi’s A1 Sportback is. It is a premium light car for the cost of a small mainstream hatch and its five doors extend its appeal beyond car enthusiasts.
The A1 Sportback range starts at $26,500 for a 1.2-litre turbocharged engine matched to a five-speed manual gearbox. It’s no stripper.
The same engine, with more power and at a lower price, is in the Volkswagen Polo and Golf — and theVWgets a six-speed box. But neither cheaper car has Audi’s badge or its softtouch plastics— a big part of the A1’s appeal. It’s the difference between dressing in synthetics or silk.
Exclusivity is the other drawcard— it doesn’t matter what model Ford, Hyundai or Kia you buy, someone else on your street will have one too. That ain’t so with the Audi.
Standard gear extends to cruise control, auto headlamps and wipers, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 6.5-inch infotainment display. The only option I’d want is satnav but it’s bundled with a 20GB hard drive, interface for iPod/USB connections and an extra SD card slot for $3600.
To put that in perspective, $3400 will put prospective owners in the 1.4-litre A1 with 16-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, front foglights, a front centre armrest, betterbolstered front seats and black air-vent surrounds.
Buy an aftermarket satnav and upgrade the memory on your smartphone instead.
It looks like an A1 but with extra doors. That’s smart
Affordable: The A1 Sportback takes Audi to anewlevel — a $26,500 starting price