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Audi’s got a new look. Gone are the soft, air-filled edges that gave the brand a classical elegance some labelled bland.
Today, Audi’s design DNA has manifested into sharp triangular design elements that mark a new geometric age - a more aggressive style that’s now bolder and eye-catching.
The new A1, like the new A8, A6, face-lifted A4, Q8 and Q3 all appreciate this bold, sharp styling. It’s fresh.
More masculine than before, the new A1 does a better job of balancing its feminine yin with its masculine yang energy. I especially enjoy the new bonnet and grille detail - three flat slits - a homage to the Sport quattro, the brand’s rally icon from 1984.
It’s a positive tick for the exterior design. The interior follows suit with a dashboard that resembles a mountain top which drops, revealing bevelled and angular vertical recesses, which comprise of a mixture of materials. It’s very modern and well suited to the playful nature of the A1. Audi has outstanding interiors that make their rivals look cheap in comparison. Unfortunately, the interior of the new A1 makes use of some hard, scratchy plastics on its doors that aren’t in keeping with an otherwise classy cabin.
Gone are the pop-up screens and rotator switchgear for the infotainment system. In its place is an integrated touchscreen as seen in other new Audi products. The system is feature-rich, easy to use, fast and intuitive. The only drawback is seeing your greasy fingerprints left on the screen. So, keep a screen cleaner handy.
The list of optional tech and mod-cons are endless. There is an option for anything you’d like, that includes exterior style details. Be warned, these options add up, albeit if you enjoy your music, the R9 500 Bang & Olufsen 3D sounds system is outstanding. Conveniently, Audi has bundled packages for their customers: Lights (entry-level only), Comfort, Technology, Sport and S line interior.
New car, new badging - Audi have now labelled their models 30 TFSI, 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI. What does that even mean? I’m still trying to figure it out. Who cares! It looks cool and Audi’s engines and automatic gearboxes are great. There’s a 1.0-T petrol with 85 kW that’s mated to an S Tronic 7-speed hitting 100km/h in 9.4 seconds, a 1.5-T with 110 kW with the same 7-speed S Tronic that 0.2 seconds quicker to 100km/h and a 2.0-T with 147 kW that’s matched with a 6-speed S Tronic that darts to the 100 km/h mark in 6.8 seconds.
On the road, the A1 is an easy-to-live-with daily commute. Well composed, it’s suspension set-up is only faulted on the most abrupt ridges or tarmac scars. Braking is also a strong point with affirmed stops being the standard.
The A1 is a considered product that is befitting of the Audi brand logo, let down by some non-brand plastics seen more expectedly in its cheaper Polo cousin.
MINI Cooper and Mazda 3 hatch and VW Polo.
A1 Sportback 30 TFSI R359 900
A1 Sportback 35 TFSI R440 800
A1 Sportback 40 TFSI R488 000
Service and warranty
The Audi A1 is sold with a 5 year/100 000km maintenance plan.
A1 Sportback 30 TFSI R359 900 with the Bang & Olufsen sound system in Sport guise and hot rims.
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