At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show Audi expanded its lineup with the addition of a new small, city car: the A1 . Initially offered in a three-door version, the model was soon followed by a five-door variant called the Sportback . Since then, the model remained basically unchanged, except the addition of some special editions, like the A1 Amplified .
The A1 measures less than 4 meters (157.5 inches) in length, making it the perfect car for today’s crowded cities. In fact, the A1 was already voted best-in-class by several German magazines. Despite its compact sizes, the A1 features powerful engines and an agile chassis making it the sportiest car in the segment. The A1 also offers enough interior room for five adults.
The A1 is offered with a choice of seven engines - four TFSI and three TDI units - all of them combined with start-stop system.
On the European market, the A1 is priced from €15,800 - roughly $21,000 at the current exchange rates. Unfortunately, the model is still not offered on the U.S. market.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A1.
The A1 will be immediately recognized as an Audi model, even though the company decided to use many styling cues from the 2007 A1 project quattro show car.
Up front, the A1 will get a single-frame grille with angular upper corners that were first seen on the A8 luxury sedan. There are also large air inlets that offer the A1 a sporty appearance, while buyers can order the headlight in either LED or xenon plus format.
The A1 can be ordered in four different colors and Audi is offers its customers the possibility to choose between 800 different exterior configurations, including adhesive films for the roof arch.
When viewed from the side, you will notice side mirrors mounted on the doors like with TT and the R8, and pronounced wheel arches that can house wheels up to 18 inches in diameter.
On the rear, you will notice a sporty black diffuser in the skirt, while the exhaust system ends with one or two pipes, depending on the trim level.
|Length||3,954 mm (155.6 inches)|
|Width||1,740 mm (68.5 inches)|
|Height||1,417 mm (55.8 inches)|
|Wheelbase||2,469 mm (97.2 inches)|
Just like with all the other Audi models, the A1’s interior is defined by luxury, but it also adds sportiness, precision and youthful freshens.
The A1 will be offered with a standard three-spoke sport steering wheel, optionally wrapped in Fine Nappa leather and decorated with chrome-design inlays. A multifunction steering wheel can be ordered as an option.
The instrument panel is a very nice combination of round dials, black faces, red needles and white numbers, while a very cool LED interior lighting package will make the A1 look better than any other model in the segment.
Equipment and trims
Audi A1 Attraction:
- Three-spoke sport steering wheel
- Split folding rear seat
- Chorus radio
- Radio remote-controlled central locking system
- Power-adjustable side mirrors
- Power windows
- Height-adjustable driver’s seat
- Front airbags
- Thorax/pelvic side airbags
- Head airbags
Audi A1 Ambition
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- Fog lights
- Highly polished tailpipe of the exhaust system
- Sport seats with an easy-entry function and lumbar supports
- Leather shift lever knob
- Leather steering wheel
- Leather parking brake handle
- Aluminum door sills
- Driver information system, which includes the on-board computer with efficiency program
S Line Package
- 17-inch or 18-inch cast aluminum wheels
- S line sport suspension
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and sport seats
- S line badges on the fenders and door sill trims adorn the body
- Daytona Gray pearl effect paint - option
- Black interior, with gray stitching and piping providing accents
- Cloth and leather sport seats
The Audi A1 will be offered with a choice of seven engines, including four TFSI and three TDI units with power ranging from 86 to 185 horsepower. All engines follow the downsizing principle, as they substitute forced induction for displacement and draw their fuel through direct-injection units.
The most powerful version in the lineup, the 1.4-liter engine is offered with a supercharger and a turbocharger for an output of 185 horsepower. Audi is also offering a specially developed 140-horsepower 1.4 TFSI engine that offers the possibility to deactivates two cylinders, reducing average fuel consumption to 4.7 liters per 100 km (50.05 U.S. mpg).
All engines are offered with a start-stop system and manual transmission, while a seven-speed S tronic can be ordered as an option.
- 1.2 TFSI with 86 horsepower
- 1.4 TFSI with 112 horsepower
- 1.4 TFSI with 140 horsepower
- 1.4 TFSI with 185 horsepower
- 1.6 TDI with 90 horsepower
- 1.6 TDI with 105 horsepower
- 2.0 TDI with 143 horsepower
On the European market the A1 is priced from €15,800 - about $21,000 at the current exchange rates.
By the time we’ll have the chance to drive the A1 on the U.S. market - if ever - we’ll need to see what other people have to say about the A1.
For example, the guys over Top Gear say: "Those looking for a classy, comfortable and luxurious city car will think it’s a lovely thing. Sadly though, the drive lets it down and that lack of thrills will deter the Stigs amongst you."
The guys over Popular Mechanics found it "Efficient rather than charismatic’ the little A1 will be sold on its technology and its closeness to the rest of the four-ringed range."
British magazine CAR had the chance to test it for a month and compared it against a VW Polo: " The Polo and A1 drive completely differently. Ok, our Polo was a 1.4 petrol to our A1’s laidback diesel, but the A1 to me feels sturdy, solid, with firmer controls and weightier steering. The Polo Match serves up a softer ride, a bit more wobble through corners, and lighter controls and steering response. Considering they are essentially the same underneath, I was surprised by their different characteristics."
Is not too surprising to see that the A1 gets both positive and negative reactions, but after all, when it comes to Audi models people are used to see a great level of luxury, not a small, city car.
The Audi A1 is, no doubt, an impressive city car, but the Mini Cooper is already a very successful model, with an already formed clientele. To make it even more difficult, Mini is already preparing a new-generation Cooper and we expect it sometime in 2014.
The new Cooper will grow in all directions and will also receive a more aggressive design language. It will be built on an all-new UKL platform and will be offered with a new three-cylinder engine family along with the conventional four-cylinder engines.
Gallery Mini Cooper
Everyone knows that Alfa Romeo models aren’t very successful in other markets, except the local, Italian one. But the MiTo seems to be an exception, as it already enjoys great success all over Europe.
MiTo is offered with a wide choice of engines, including a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that produces 135 horsepower and a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that produces 170 horsepower.
Gallery Alfa Romeo MiTo
The Audi A1 is the right addition for those looking for a small city car with a certain amount of luxury on the interior. It is also cheap - when compared with other Audi models, and many test drives found it very agile.
- Numerous engines
- Agile and sporty appearance
- Lots of customization possibilities
- Stiff ride on top-specs models
- Some found Mini a better drive