We recently attended the international launch of the all-new Audi A1, which is expected to arrive in South Africa midway through 2019. So, what are the key differences between the outgoing A1 and its successor?
The Audi A1 gives consumers an entry point to the Ingolstadt-based brand ownership and the premium hatchback offers a variety of engines packed into a compact body. The Audi A1 was offered in both petrol and diesel models and even included a flagship S1 performance variant. Launched in SA in late 2010, the Audi A1 has racked up a reasonable amount of sales. Globally, it has been a popular model, with the 500 000 Audi A1 rolling off the line back in 2014.
For 2019, the Audi A1 has been substantially overhauled and boasts new engines, new tech and a new look for the cabin. What are the key changes between the 2nd-generation Audi A1 and the outgoing model?
The new Audi A1 is bigger than the outgoing model, thanks to the all-new platform. Riding on MQB, the new Audi A1 is 56 mm longer and has a 94 mm longer wheelbase. The new platform gives the Audi A1 a lot more cabin space and given that it underpins the current A3/Volkswagen Golf, some would even argue that the refinement and road holding has improved.
The current Audi A1 is only available with 2 turbocharged petrol engines. Kicking off the range is a 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder producing 70 kW and 160 Nm, followed by a 1.4-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder with 92 kW and 200 Nm. Just before this current iteration, there was also a 1.8-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder motor pumping out 141 kW and 250 Nm. Petrolheads will spot that this is essentially a previous-generation Polo GTI and after the S1 was discontinued, this was the most powerful A1 you could buy.
The new Audi A1 will be coming to SA with new engines and new model designations. At the bottom of the range is the A1 25 TFSI packing 70 kW and 175 Nm. Next up is the A1 30 TFSI, featuring the same powerplant, but in a higher state of tune (it produces 85 kW and 200 Nm). Both of the 1.0-litre motors are 3-cylinder mills. There is also a 1.5-litre petrol motor with 110 kW and 250 Nm, which we'll be getting from launch and it comes with an A1 35 TFSI designation. The range-topping version is the 2.0-litre turbocharged motor producing 147 kW and 320 Nm in the A1 40 TFSI which is shared with the current Volkswagen Polo GTI.
There are some big changes in the cabin as you can see. The new Audi A1 positively brims with many features pinched from the bigger models such as the A8. The first thing you'll notice when you step inside the new A1 is the completely overhauled cabin, which shows an impressive level of attention to detail. The infotainment screen is angled towards the driver, the air vent positioning forms part of the dashboard and there's the option of Audi Virtual Cockpit, which we think is a peerless infotainment system in this segment.
Moving to the MQB platform can only mean good things for the 2nd generation Audi A1. Not only is it great to drive, but it also looks good too. The highlight has to be the cabin layout and finish, which we think is class-leading in this segment. At the time of writing, the previous generation Audi A1 price started from R304 500 and went up to R363 000. Given the improvements across the board for the Audi A1, the price will go up considerably, but not unrealistically. At this stage, we think the 2nd generation Audi A1 will come to market around the R340 000 mark.