Re­freshed a1 roomier

Pleas­antly sur­prised at 1.0TSI man­ual’s pulling power

Saturday Star - - M O T O R I N G - PRITESH RUTHUN

TO THE de­light of young up-and­com­ing pro­fes­sion­als around the world, in­stead of stretch­ing bud­gets to jump into an A3, tra­di­tion­ally the small­est and cheap­est Audi hatch­back for quite some time, the A1 made it pos­si­ble for many peo­ple to drive a “cheaper”, yet still “pre­mium”, four-ring car. As oxy­moronic as that The new Audi A1 will be made avail­able with a 1.0-litre three-cylin­der petrol en­gine (85kw, 200Nm), a 1.5-litre four-cylin­der petrol en­gine with cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion ca­pa­bil­ity (110kw, 250Nm), and a 2.0-litre four-cylin­der petrol en­gine (147kw, 320Nm). All mo­tors are tur­bocharged with di­rect-in­jec­tion and de­pend­ing on which propul­sion unit you go for, you’ll be able to choose man­ual or dual-clutch auto gear­boxes.

First, I jumped into the model that’s prob­a­bly go­ing to ap­peal to most buy­ers, ar­guably be­cause it’s go­ing to be the cheap­est way to jump into a new Audi – the 1.0-litre man­ual. Af­ter spend­ing around 100km be­hind the wheel of the 1.0TSI man­ual, I came away pleas­antly sur­prised at the unit’s pulling power and over­tak­ing abil­ity. Sure, you’ve got to rev the en­gine to make haste, but over­all it’s not as laggy as I ex­pected it to be, and the man­ual trans­mis­sion’s ra­tios aren’t su­per eco-bi­ased, which makes for de­cent (con­fi­dent) ac­cel­er­a­tion from a stand­still or while on the move. I then went for a 90km loop in the range-top­ping 2.0-litre TFSI, fit­ted with 17-inch al­loys and an S-line kit. This car was also fit­ted with a six-speed S-tronic trans­mis­sion, which en­sured slick-shift­ing and fewer missed gears (we were driv­ing left-hand-drive cars). Left in its stan­dard set­tings (you can choose from a va­ri­ety of sporty or eco-driv­ing modes through the Drive Select but­ton on the dash­board), the 2.0-litre is re­spon­sive in the same vein as VW’S Polo GTI; fast and comfy, but a lit­tle dull in terms of feed­back and grin fac­tor. sounds, in South Africa the A1 has done re­mark­ably well over the years, con­sid­er­ing the cheap­est de­riv­a­tive (1.0TSI) cur­rently sells for around R350 000. Sold in three-door and five-door guises, with petrol and diesel (now a dirty word at Audi) en­gines, man­ual and S-tronic, as well as tar-melt­ing S1 for­mats, the old A1 You’ll im­me­di­ately no­tice the new A1 be­cause it is much more ag­gres­sive than the old one in its ex­e­cu­tion. Audi’s spokesper­sons call it a more mas­cu­line-look­ing car, and they’re spot-on. Nostrils un­der the bon­net hark back to the orig­i­nal Audi Qu­at­tro, mildly flared wheel arches hint at its sporty in­tent, and an ex­tra fat C-pil­lar makes it look more pur­pose­ful and racy. The new A1 is also avail­able in strik­ing new colours, in­clud­ing the Python Yel­low you see in the pic­tures, and Turbo Blue. Ar­row-head in­spired front and rear lights, with LED lamp tech­nol­ogy, give it a dis­tinct look as a “new” Audi, Mea­sur­ing 4.03 me­tres in length, 1.74m in width, and 1.41m in height, with the boot at around 335 litres with the rear seats in place, the new A1 is roomier than its pre­de­ces­sor. It’s also around 50kg heav­ier, de­pend­ing on the model, but you can’t re­ally seemed to have all niches cov­ered; young moms and dads that needed ex­tra doors for small kids or easy ac­cess to baby seats, or petrol­heads that live their lives a quar­ter-mile at a time… there was an A1 for ev­ery­one. Heck, let’s not for­get the lim­ited edi­tion Qu­at­tro model that wasn’t sold here. too. On the in­side, I par­tic­u­larly liked the driver-fo­cused dash­board, with the cen­tre con­sole an­gled to­wards the driver for ease of ac­cess to mul­ti­me­dia con­trols. A full-colour touch-screen sys­tem (sim­i­lar to the units fit­ted to the new A8 and A6) will be avail­able for all mod­els and you can even choose to up­grade to the full Audi Vir­tual Cock­pit ex­pe­ri­ence, com­plete with dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter. The nicest part of the new A1 on the in­side, though, has to be its fit and fin­ish. Qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, whether it’s the cloth or the plas­tic or two-tone ac­cents on the press units, show a more youth­ful charisma than the old car with its slabs of black plas­tic.

feel this ex­tra weight when driv­ing it. As a com­pact fam­ily run­about, it can work well, be­cause it’s only avail­able with rear doors now, and there’s no strain­ing to get in and out of the back seat. Rear legroom and knee room has im­proved, too, so you can ac­tu­ally trans­port adults in the back.

For 2019, though, the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion A1 is go­ing to do things slightly dif­fer­ently. Glob­ally, there will only be a five-door model, the Sport­back, and there won’t be an S1 or Qu­at­tro. I sam­pled two of the three Audi A1 de­riv­a­tives that are com­ing to South Africa at the world launch in Spain last week: I’M RE­SERV­ING fi­nal judg­ment on the new A1 un­til it ar­rives in South Africa, in trims that are tai­lored to our mar­ket.

The left-hand-drive units I sam­pled in Spain drove well, and cer­tainly showed the car’s cruis­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, but I’d like to ne­go­ti­ate more city traf­fic in an A1 to gauge what it’s like to pilot the man­ual 1.0-litre ver­sion in stop-start city traf­fic. The 2.0-litre turbo? Well, it lacked the kind of fizz I was ex­pect­ing of a “hot” Audi and, to be per­fectly hon­est, it might not be the one to go for when the cars even­tu­ally ar­rive in South Africa next year.

If it were my cash, I’d se­ri­ously con­sider a 1.0-litre model, with a few op­tions, though, such as the S-line kit and maybe 18-inch al­loy wheels.

Lo­cal pric­ing of the new A1 will be con­firmed to­wards the mid­dle of 2019, but you can ex­pect a slight in­crease in re­tail costs com­pared to the out­go­ing model, ac­cord­ing to Audi SA. | Drive360

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.