With a selection of gasoline and diesel engines and a 231-horsepower, all-wheel drive prime model referred to as S1, it put BMW’s Mini to disgrace in virtually each respect. Quiet, highly effective and extremely nimble, it was the quintessential luxurious minicar. Nevertheless it wasn’t provided right here: North American clients like their small automobiles low cost, luxurious nonetheless corresponds with size. We have been really lacking out.
Now Audi has launched the second era of the A1, and the brand new fashions begs the query: Are we nonetheless lacking out on an amazing car?
At first look, perhaps rather less than earlier than: For the brand new mannequin era, Audi has ruthlessly reduce on variants for the subsequent A1. Gone is the three-door model, there isn’t any extra diesel, all-wheel drive has disappeared – and there shall be no S1. The highest-of-the-line stereo system, which positive factors Bang & Olufsen branding, has much less audio system than the earlier prime-degree system – and Audi did not even hassle to develop a sunroof, to not point out a panoramic roof like on its predecessor. That is decontenting that’s onerous to swallow.
That stated, the brand new A1 stands on a superior structure. It shares its underpinnings with different MQB fashions like the brand new VW Polo, which brings with it a number of benefits. It’s lighter, and gives the prospect to incorporate chopping-edge infotainment and help methods. This, certainly, is the place the A1 now shines. Nerds will rejoice: The A1 could be fitted with a plethora of ultrasonic-, radar- and digital camera-based mostly help methods, together with an adaptive cruise management with a cease-and-go perform. A digital instrument cluster is standard, and whereas there’s an entry-degree stereo system that’s solely operated from the steering wheel, any of the a number of up-degree methods consists of a big central contact display that permits the driving force to regulate a number of vehicle settings, apps and telephone connections. The glass display lends the A1 the identical futuristic aura that permeates the newest A6, A7 and A8 fashions.
As a nod to the presumably younger buyer base within the A1, it may be specified with colourful decor across the driver-aspect air vents, the door handles and the gear shifter. Screens, buttons and vents are organized in a horizontal method, with a fractal type. We prefer it. The identical is true of the seats, which Audi presents in a mess of types starting from plain material to stitched leather-based and grippy alcantara.
The seats are snug as properly, holding the driving force and passengers firmly planted even underneath spirited driving. And that is an excellent factor as you might end up regularly pushing the A1 to its remarkably excessive limits. This minicar feels stiff and strong, it turns in with precision and stays firmly planted on the street even on uneven and tough surfaces.
The A1 is fitted with a McPherson entrance axle and a multi-hyperlink rear axle with a stabilizer; wheel sizes range from 15 to 18 inches. A sports activities suspension is optionally available, as are electronically adjustable dampers. As an alternative of the Mini’s fake go-kart responses, which find yourself coming throughout as darty to the purpose of obnoxiousness, the A1 feels extra harmonious. This can be a extra mature sporty hatchback.
There’s a range of engines, beginning with two variations of a direct-injected 1.zero-liter three-cylinder turbo, rated at ninety five and 116 horsepower. Do not get us began on the mannequin designations: Audi calls them “25 TFSI” and “30 TFSI.” The entry-degree three-banger takes 10.eight seconds for the zero-sixty two mph dash, and it tops out at 119 mph. Transfer as much as the 116-horsepower model, and the zero-sixty two time drops to 9.four seconds, whereas prime velocity will increase to 126 mph.
The rev-completely satisfied three-cylinder engines fail to seize this author’s coronary heart: Their throbbing sound does not match the premium character of the A1, and whereas the acceleration is suitable it hardly pins you into the seat. The 1.5-liter turbo 4, the 35 TFSI, is a big step up. Rated at one hundred fifty horsepower and 184 lb-ft, it pulls strongly all through the rev band and emits a pleasing, sonorous sound. The dash from zero to sixty two mph takes a mere 7.7 seconds, and it tops out at a exceptional 138 mph. And there’s a range-topping 2.zero-liter 4, obnoxiously referred to as forty TFSI. With 200 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, the tiny A1 costs to sixty two mph in 6.5 seconds and tops out at 146 mph.
Whereas that is spectacular, we think the 1.5-liter engine is the happiest selection for 2 causes. First, it comes with a cylinder deactivation system that operates at low masses and as much as three,200 rpm; it’s nearly imperceptible but it manages to chop fuel consumption as much as 20 % beneath appropriate circumstances. And much more importantly, it comes with a slick and exact six-velocity guide transmission that matches this car’s character completely. A “dry” seven-velocity twin-clutch automated is non-compulsory, whereas the two.zero-liter mannequin is just obtainable with a “moist” six-velocity automated. No guide is obtainable on that prime mannequin, and mixed with the truth that it does not really feel a lot faster than the close to-good 1.5-liter mannequin, we think the step up shouldn’t be value it.
The Audi A1 isn’t just enjoyable to drive, additionally it is fairly sensible. Despite the fact that it’s a mere 158.6 inches lengthy, sixty eight.5 inches vast and fifty six.three inches tall, there’s ample room each up entrance and within the rear, offered the center seat stays empty. The trunk holds eleven.eight cu ft of cargo.
So the brand new form is sensible, however whether or not the A1 seems higher than the predecessor is debatable. These trademark arched roof pillars have disappeared; as an alternative, we see extra horizontal strains than we will keep in mind, a slightly typical roof contour and so-referred to as “Quattro blisters” on the flanks. These blisters, identical to the three non-useful air intakes on the hood which might be alleged to evoke the historic Sport Quattro, simply do not appear very genuine in mild of the truth that Quattro all-wheel drive has truly disappeared. It looks like this busy design won’t age as gracefully because the earlier mannequin.
However we’re positive of some different issues: The Audi A1 is by far the best selection on this phase in case you are not into the cutesy retro look of BMW’s Mini. It begs for an S1 by-product with over 250 horsepower and a guide transmission. And it will be an awesome car within the U.S. if Audi got here round to providing it right here – a critical various to a Mini that by comparability has misplaced its means. Costs in Europe begin under 20,000 euros, together with a 19 per cent gross sales tax.
– 2019 Audi A1 Sportback First Drive Review –
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