Second-generation A1 Sportback set to rewrite the book on premium compact mobility.
20 June, 2018
Incredibly it’s been eight years since Audi first unveiled its A1 Sportback and brought a wealth of qualities, appointment and equipment usually confined to the upper echelons of the luxury class, to the compact premium segment.
The A1 Sportback, with its distinctive look, bold, youthful design and the ability for owners to tailor the vehicle in so many ways struck a chord with a whole new group of buyers. Exciting colour combinations inside and out, state-of-the-art tech and infotainment and Audi’s trademark attention to detail and excellence in engineering resulted in a vehicle that was every inch an Audi – yet not as many had seen it before.
Fast forward from 2010 to the present day and the first look at the second-generation A1 Sportback, a contemporary interpretation of that groundbreaking first model, with all of the funk and panache but with a bold new design and again, offering the very latest in tech, infotainment and adaptability to the modern lifestyle.
The new A1 Sportback has grown up a little interns of size – stretching 56mm to just over 4m in length (4.03m to be precise), but hunkering down a little to just 1.43m in height including the roof-mounted aerial. Width remains the same, but the overall impression is one of a lower, more solid performer – a feeling that’s enhanced by the wide and low Singleframe grille and accentuated by the distinctively highlighted wheels and the low shoulder line. Distinctive headlight and tail light treatment give the A1 Sportback a look all its own, while little design touches like the three flat slits below the edge of the bonnet pay homage to the Sport quattro, the brand’s rally icon from 1984 (pictured below).
design touches like the three flat slits below the edge of the bonnet pay homage to the Sport quattro
the new A1 Sportback again impresses with plenty of interior accommodation in the front and rear seats, as well as luggage capacity that has increased by 65 litres
Despite the sporty look and dimensions, the new A1 Sportback again impresses with plenty of interior accommodation in the front and rear seats, as well as luggage capacity that has increased by 65 litres (335 litres standard – 1090 litres with rear seats folded).
The interior also mirrors the bold styling of the exterior, and is very driver-focused in its execution. MMI touch display and controls are all designed around the driver for maximum convenience, but as with the rest of the A1 Sportback, 'customisable' is the name of the game. Whether that be colour choices, equipment packages or changing the ambience of the cabin through LED light elements in 30 selectable colours.
Indeed, like the original A1 Sportback, one of the key attributes of this new model is its tremendous ability to be tailored to absolutely suit the needs, tastes and lifestyle of each owner. Through the modular lines structure, customers can for the first time combine exterior and interior lines however they like.
A total of 10 colours and ability to have the roof finished in a contrasting colour (from A-pillar to roof-edge spoiler) is just the start. Wing mirrors, front spoiler and side sills can also be finished in contrasting hues, while depending on the equipment line – basic, advanced or S line – the attachments on the exterior are available in various configurations. The black styling package sets additional accents and with lines like ‘Interior advanced’, ‘Interior design selection’ and ‘Interior S line,’ customers can select colours and materials accordingly.
The Edition model, based on the S line equipment line is particularly distinctive. It features 18-inch wheels in bronze, white or black depending on the exterior finish. The Audi rings in foil on the side of the car are also available in the rim colour, and, borrowing from the legendary Audi Sport quattro again, the LED headlights and LED rear lights are dark-tinted. The Audi rings in the Singleframe and the model designation on the back are black.
The appointment and infotainment in the new A1 Sportback is again of a standard usually found in much larger luxury models. MMI radio is standard, as is the multifunction steering wheel and the fully digital instrument cluster. The Audi virtual cockpit can be added as an option, while the top model boasts MMI navigation plus with a 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen and the latest generation of voice control.
With Audi connect, MMI navigation plus offers functions such as hybrid route guidance, satellite map view and the new 3D city models. Audi smartphone interface integrates iOS and Android smartphones using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into an environment in the MMI programmed specifically for them. It offers two USB interfaces (1x USB-A, 1x USB-C with increased charging current). The Audi phone box is also available with improved reception quality with LTE support and the ability to charge smartphones inductively via wireless charging according to the Qi standard.
With Audi connect, MMI navigation plus offers functions such as hybrid route guidance, satellite map view and the new 3D city models
Safety and driver assistance systems will again come straight from the larger, luxury models
Music comes courtesy of the the Audi sound system or the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System. Here, this remarkable sound system uses the windscreen as a reflecting surface to create its famous 3D effect. Although the A1 Sportback won’t be making an appearance in Australia until the first half of next year, in Europe it will be released with TFSI engines ranging in output from 70kW to 147kW, with both manual and seven-speed S tronic transmissions. A range-topping engine will feature a six-speed S tronic transmission.
Suspension and handling will be in keeping with the sporty engine transmission combinations, again with a number of options packages designed to help suit individual requirements.
The ‘Basis’ dynamic package for the entry-level petrol version includes a sport suspension, red brake calipers and larger brake discs, while a ‘Performance’ dynamic package for the other engine versions which includes red brake calipers and larger brake discs, as well as a suspension with adjustable dampers, a sound actuator and Audi drive select.
Safety and driver assistance systems will again come straight from the larger, luxury models with everything from lane departure warning to Audi pre sense front and adaptive speed assist on offer. Given its overwhelming popularity in the urban environment, parking systems too will be extensive, with a reversing camera added to the rear parking system for the first time, as well as front ultrasonic sensors and a park assist system that steers the A1 Sportback parallel and horizontally into parking spaces as well as forward into perpendicular parking spaces.
Final specification and pricing for the new Audi A1 Sportback will be confirmed closer to its Australian arrival in the second half of 2020.
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