Is the Mini scared yet?
It was only 8-years ago when German carmaker Audi decided to bust in on the luxury supermini scene and cause a stir. The A1 offered the diminutive dimensions that made it useful in town, but also packed the sort of Teutonic build quality that Audi’s famed for. It’s become an increasingly important car for the brand, hence why this new-generation model has to nail the appeal on the nose or suffer the consequences of missing the mark.
On the surface, all looks good. The new A1 bears a design language that is certainly in keeping with Ingolstadt’s latest design trends. There’s that large Singleframe grille up front, flanked by sharp LED headlights with a unique light signature, inspired by hydrofoils (apparently). There’s even a slit above the grille as a nod to the Sport Quattro homologation special, which are functional, which can’t be said of the enormous ‘intakes’ at the corners of the front bumper.
At the rear, the A1’s gained body-coloured C-pillars despite retaining the contrasting roof, and the LED taillights mimic the headlights’ signature. There’s a bolder, more purposeful stance to the A1, and it’s quite something to behold.
No less than 11 hues are offered with the A1, with wing mirror caps, front air ‘intake’ wigs and side sills that can be requested to match the roof. There’s also the usual S-Line design package that makes everything look that much more aggressive, while wheel options range from 15-inch units to 18-inch ones.
The cabin continues that focused, performance feel too, with a dash angled towards the driver, body colour-coordinated trim pieces, as well as an optional ambient lighting package that throws in 30 selectable shades to enhance the mood. Tech is covered with a new-generation MMI infotainment touchscreen and Virtual Cockpit digital dials, with the former presented in either a base 8.8-inch screen or a top-of-the-line 10.1-inch screen.
Only petrol engines are being offered at launch, from a 1.0-litre three cylinder to a 2.0-litre four-banger, with outputs ranging from 70kW to 150kW. There’s also a choice between a six-speed self-shifter to a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic, though the 150kW 40TFSI only gets the S-Tronic box.
For a limited time (and so far only in Europe), Audi will offer an ‘Edition’ model to commemorate the new model. The special ‘Edition’ will add things like 18-inch alloys (in either black or bronze-white), smoked head- and taillights, and black Audi badges all round.