By: Jesse Adams
Johannesburg - Audi’s two smallest cars, the A1 hatch and A1 Sportback, have undergone some minor stylistic and major mechanical upgrades for 2015.
Most of what’s happening aesthetically now matches what the hottest model, the S1 quattro, was already fitted with late last year, as this particular derivative was launched in SA with its facelift already in place. But now the rest of the range has caught up in terms of exterior looks and along with new head and tail lights there are new bumpers, revised fog lights and surrounds, and a new rear diffuser panel.
Lower S and SE versions can now also be specced with a R22 000 optional Active Kit, which makes the VW Polo-based hatchback look like a miniature A4 Allroad with some brawnier wheel arches and side sills, and a set of specific alloy wheels. The entire range can also be had with some new paint colours and a few new wheel styles, ranging from 15 to 18 inches. Gone are some of the previous trim lines such as Amplified and Admired, but all models can still be personalised with custom all sorts inside and out, and Audi says more than 250 000 different configurations are possible.
But it’s under the A1’s stubby little bonnet where the most significant changes have happened, with a new electro-mechanical power-steering system, two new engines, and a slight tweak to another. The new drivetrains are also met with an untangled naming strategy, as base models in both three-door A1 and five-door Sportback ranges are now simply known by “S” monikers.
Here a new 1-litre three-cylinder turbo with 70kW and 160Nm has been employed to take the place of the previous 63kW/160Nm 1.2 turbo. Along with the power boost, the new engine’s claimed average consumption of 4.3 litres/100km betters the outgoing 1.2 engine’s 5.1 litres by some margin.
Middle spec A1s retain the previous 1.4 turbo (now exclusively used in SE variants), but output has been increased slightly to 92kW (from 90) while its torque figure of 200Nm is unchanged. Average consumption has been improved to 5l/100km from 5.3 according to Audi.
The 136kW 1.4 turbo engine fitted to what was formerly known as the S-Line (now just “Sport”), has been replaced with a bigger 1.8 turbo with new outputs of 141kW and 250Nm.
This engine, which is shared with VW’s latest Polo GTI, is good for 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds says Audi, and comes only with a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic gearbox.
This transmission is now also available as an option in all models, except for the top S1 which comes with a six-speed manual only. The all-wheel drive S1 is unchanged from its December launch specification and still uses a 170kW/370Nm 2-litre turbo. -Star Motoring
Audi A1 3-door
1.0T FSI S - R265 000
1.0T FSI S tronic - R 282 500
1.4T FSI SE - R 298 500
1.4T FSI SE S tronic - R316 000
1.8T FSI Sport S tronic - R382 500
S1 2.0T FSI quattro - R452 500
A1 Sportback 5-door
1.0T FSI S - R272 500
1.0T FSI S tronic - R290 000
1.4T FSI SE - R306 000
1.4T FSI SE S tronic - R323 500
1.8T FSI Sport S tronic - R390 000
S1 2.0T FSI quattro - R460 000