Car Review: New Audi A1

Love the look of the new Audi A1? Here’s more about Audi’s latest compact hatch…

The brand new Audi A1 is here in South Africa and we recently joined Audi South Africa in Gauteng to see what the automaker’s new compact hatch has to offer local customers…

Summer Statement

The new Audi A1 introduces more space (substantially so), a sportier design, and a fully enhanced and more digitally innovative cabin for modern buyers. My first impression when meeting it in the metal was that its become more playful too, with new quirky and bright colour options that look fantastic in summer settings and will undoubtably stand out in any environment. Colours aside, Audi’s new design language carries through in the new A1 with large 18-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels and black contrasting roof and exterior mirror housings and set powerful accents to create a sporty look. At its launch, Audi’s Asif Hoosen noted that inspiration for the design of the A1 was in fact drawn from Playstation’s game, Grand Theft Auto!

Driver Focused

Inside, Audi has shifted its focus and attention for detail towards the driver, so that you needn’t cast your eyes or hands away from road or steering wheel – it’s all about the drive!

Audi says that its new A1 is “fit for the digital future”. The basic version comes standard with a fully digital instrument cluster with a high-resolution 8.8-inch display. The optional Audi virtual cockpit with an extended range of functions presents comprehensive and diverse information such as animated navigation maps and graphics of some driver assistance systems in the driver’s direct field of vision.

Growing families of A1 buyers will be glad to know that the new A1 has grown by 56 mm in length and that its wheelbase has extended by 94 mm. Luggage capacity has also grown by 65 litres to 335 litres, and if you fold the rear seats down you can get as much as 1090 litres – pretty impressive for a compact hatch! Adults seated at the back will be surprised at how much space and comfort is offered – so if a compact hatch that offers space and comfort for friends and family on road trips is important to you, this is worth noting.

Trims and equipment

For trim lines: Audi is on a mission to simplify things for customers (thank goodness), and the options are now STANDARD, ADVANCED AND S-LINE. An Edition One Package is available for the A1 S-Line – this is what you’ll want to go for if having the sportiest and most stand-out A1 on the road is what you want.

There is a HUGE amount of equipment that comes as standard on the A1, even in the case of the base model. I usually don’t like to list them all, but I feel in this case it’s worth showing you, because it’s really just that impressive:

  • 15 inch alloy, 5-arm style (Standard model)
  • 16 inch alloy, 10-spoke turbine style (Advanced model)
  • 16 inch alloy, 5-arm dynamic style (S line model)
  • Anti-theft wheel bolts
  • Space-saving spare wheel
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Tool kit and jack
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Electromechanical power steering
  • Hill start assist
  • Standard suspension
  • Start/stop system with regenerative braking
  • Halogen headlights
  • Headlight range control
  • Light/rain sensor
  • Separate daytime running lights
  • Additional front underbody guard plus underbody stone guard
  • Black decorative trims
  • Exterior mirror covers in Black
  • Exterior mirrors, power-adjustable and heated
  • Roof dome in body colour
  • 6 speakers
  • Bluetooth interface
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • MMI radio Plus with additional 8.8-inch centre screen integrated into black glass-look centre dashboard
  • Voice recognition
  • Accent surfaces unpainted, black
  • Anti-theft alarm system
  • Centre armrest in front
  • Dashboard accent surface in Black glass look
  • Decorative inlays in polygon structure, Black
  • Dimming interior rear view mirror
  • Driver and front passenger airbag with  front passenger airbag deactivation
  • “Delta” fabric seat upholstery
  • Floor mats in front and rear
  • Folding rear seat backrest
  • Front passenger seat with height adjustment
  • Hand brake lever handle in leather
  • Head restraints in front and rear
  • Headliner in titanium grey  fabric
  • i-Size child seat mounting on front passenger side and on outer rear seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel, 3-spoke, with multi-function Plus
  • Luggage compartment package with variable loading & luggage net
  • Manual air conditioning system
  • USB type A interface for charging external devices
  • Windshield with heat-insulating glass
A1 Driving

As for the A1’s engine line-up, for now customers can choose between Audi’s TFSI 30 (1-litre), 35 (1.5-litre) and 40 (2.0-litre) engines. The 1-litre and 1.5-litre engines are mated to seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions, while the 2.0-litre option is linked to a six-speed S tronic transmission shift as standard. At launch, we sampled the 35 and 40 engines, and although other fellowing motoring colleagues had the opposite opinions, we enjoyed the 35 engine and found that it was quicker in terms of responsiveness, particularly when it came to quick acceleration when overtaking slow moving vehicles – the 40 seemed to be a little slow on the uptake. That being said, the 40 (2.0-litre) offers more refinement and power once you’re up to speed and on the open road. What I’ve been enjoying about most of the new Audi models as of late when it comes to driving is steering. As is the case with the new A1, I love the feel and grip of the steering wheel, as well as the amount of control it gives me on the road – it’s sporty, but not overly so and I like that it seems to make driving over technical or challenging routes feel light and effortless. It doesn’t make sharp turning feel skitty and there’s nothing overly dramatic about it – it’s just…normal, I suppose that’s the only way I could describe it. Of course if you want to hype things up a bit, you still have your various Drive Modes to choose from.

Comments about the new A1’s looks on social media were buzzing with excitement so it will be interesting to see if fans will be as enthusiastic about heading over to dealerships to test drive these new models, or better yet purchase them. We’re looking forward to spending some more time with the 2.0-litre version, as well as the 1.0-litre option soon but I suspect that all three engines won’t disappoint customers.


The Audi A1 range is priced as follows, along with the standard Audi Freeway plan (5 year / 100 000 km) and inclusive of all taxes:

  • Audi A1 30 TFSI S tronic at R 359,900
  • Audi A1 30 TFSI Advanced S tronic at R 373,900
  • Audi A1 30 TFSI S line S tronic at R 388,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI S tronic at R 429,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI Advanced S tronic at R 443,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI S line S tronic at R 458,900
  • Audi A1 40 TFSI S line S tronic at R 488,000