The Audi A1 Sportback has grown significantly in length – extended by 56 millimetres, it now measures 4.03 metres. At the same time, its width has remained almost the same at 1.74 metres, while at just 1.41 metres high (excluding its aerial) it retains a low-slung stance which is emphasised further by the wide track and short overhangs. The wide, low-placed Singleframe grille and the implied side air inlets dominate the distinctive front, above which are three flat bonnet slits which pay homage to the Sport quattro, the brand’s rally icon from 1984. The new A1 Sportback also gives a nod to its Audi Ur-quattro and Sport quattro ancestry when viewed from the side: The wide, flat sloping C-pillar seems to push the car forward even while standing still. The roof contrast line, which is available in Mythos black or Manhattan grey, ends above the C-pillar. This gives the impression that the roof is flatter and the complete car is even lower-slung. All lines on the flanks, from the window edge to the sill, slope upwards towards the rear in a wedge shape. The distinctively highlighted wheels and the low shoulder line in between give the Audi A1 Sportback a solid stance on the road. The low line between the edges of the wings draws the visual focal point downwards even further.
The distinctive daytime running light graphics of the full-LED lights echo the dynamic wing shapes from sailing, known as hydrofoils. The design of the shutters for the main light functions also draws inspiration from sailing. The wing segments on the flanks create an impression of maximum width. A low-set, concentrated look in conjunction with the small rhombus segments in the top section of the headlights provides a sporty appearance. The dynamic segmentation motif also features in the rear lights to reinforce the instantly distinguishable A1 light graphics. It is encased in the striking 3D geometry of the lens. The seamless light pattern of the graphics in the dark constitutes a remarkable feature of the two-part rear lights. The new A1 Sportback is available in a choice of ten colours which, as an option, can be combined with a contrasting roof colour extending from the A-pillar to the roof edge spoiler. The exterior mirror housings, the side front spoiler lips and the side sills are also available in a contrasting colour.
In the driver-focused cabin with its emotive, customisable design the eye is drawn in particular to the compact unit of air vents and the digital instrument cluster. All of the controls and touch-screen displays are strongly driver-oriented. The display and the air vent strip on the front passenger side are integrated into an area with a black glass look. In the dark, the cockpit can be brought to life by an optional contour and ambient lighting package that includes LED light elements in 30 selectable colours. The cabin is also much more spacious, making life much more comfortable for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers. Despite the compact exterior dimensions and the tapering roof line, adults in the rear seats still enjoy plenty of head and leg room. Luggage capacity has increased by 65 litres to 335 litres, and with the rear seats folded down, this increases to 1,090 litres. The load sill height is a comfortably low 67 centimetres.
The driver assistance systems for the Audi A1 Sportback also come directly from further up the range. They keep the compact car at the right distance from the car ahead, make it easier for the driver to stay in lane and help with parking. The standard lane departure warning helps the driver to keep the car in the lane from a speed of 40mph. Also standard is the speed limiter, which reliably prevents the Audi A1 Sportback from exceeding a selected maximum speed. Another standard feature is Audi pre sense front. The radar sensor recognises critical situations involving other vehicles, crossing pedestrians or cyclists ahead of the vehicle, even when visibility is poor such as in fog. The system then gives an acoustic and visual signals to warn the driver. At the same time, it prepares for a possible full brake application and, if necessary, initiates automatic emergency braking in order to prevent an imminent collision or reduce its impact. If necessary, the protective measures of the optional Audi pre sense basic are initiated. The front seat belts are electrically tensioned, the windows are closed and the hazard warning lights are switched on.
From market launch, the Audi A1 is initially available with a three-cylinder unit with a 1.0 litre capacity and 116PS – the 30 TFSI. Peak torque of 200Nm is available from 2,000 to 3,500rpm, enabling acceleration to 62mph in 9.4 seconds for the 7-speed S tronic version (9.5s for the 6-speed manual) and a top speed of 126mph in both variants. On 15-inch alloy wheels, fitted as standard to SE models, CO2 of 108g/km corresponds to a combined fuel consumption figure of 58.9mpg according to the WLTP test procedure in both manual and S tronic versions. Very soon after launch, the range will increase to include power outputs that start at 95PS in the entry-level 25 TFSI engine and increase to 150PS in the 1.5-litre four-cylinder 35 TFSI with cylinder on demand (COD). A 2.0-litre, 200PS TFSI with 320 Nm (236.0 lb-ft) of torque will power the overtly performance-focused flagship model. All engines are enhanced by turbocharging, direct injection and a particulate filter as standard, and can be linked to either a manual gearbox or the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission with the exception of the 200PS variant, which is matched to a six-speed S tronic transmission.
The chassis configuration of the new Audi A1 Sportback delivers agile handling and a compelling driving experience. The front suspension is a McPherson construction; a compact, lightweight torsion beam is used at the rear. As an alternative to the standard suspension on SE and Sport, tauter sport suspension is fitted as standard to S line models. The Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system allows drivers to select from four modes that influence the driving characteristics: auto, dynamic, efficiency and individual, and is fitted to all Sport models and above as standard.
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