Some of the cosmetic updates to the baby Audi include new headlights, new taillights and a refreshed front bumper. All of these updates give the A1 a slightly more macho look. However, the A1 that I tested was a bit more boy-racer. When the A1 Sportback (four-door) arrived it was festooned with Audi’s S-Line kit. This means that it had bigger, sportier wheels, a sporty front bumper with a red splitter at the bottom and a sporty rear bumper with black chrome exhaust tips and a large rear roof spoiler. It sure looks cool but is this all just a distraction?
Well no, you see, the A1 that I tested was fitted with the same 1.8-litre turbocharged engine that we find in the new Polo GTI. It’s good for 141kW and 250Nm of torque, all of which is sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox. The little pocket rocket will reach 100km/h is around 6.7 seconds, which is impressive for a ‘small’car. Okay, so the A1 has the looks and it has a decent engine but is it any good? Well, I was sceptical at first, but as I spent more time with the little bugger I started to see its sporting credentials.
This little car can handle! The combination of that engine, that chassis and those racer looks give the little Audi the ability to put a smile on your face. Audi has made significant improvements to the car’s agility and its on-road feel. Remember, A1 is Ingolstadt’s answer to the retro Mini Cooper and even the stylish Citroën DS3.
Inside the Audi you can expect to find premium quality fit and finish at every turn. Interiors are what Audi is really good at. The interior looks sporty and the S-Line kit brings with it some unique items in the form of sporty seats and badges. Audi has designed the A1 in such a way that buyers can customize the car to their preferred taste. For instance, you can change the colour of the air vents and the seats and door panels; the list goes on. It’s spacious, considering its size, although rear passengers might find it a little cramped and the boot is not the biggest, but considering the target market, it’s fine.
I will advise that you take care when selecting all those wonderful optional extras such as the Multi-Media Interface (MMI) Plus for example as these items, regardless of how good they are, can drive the price up by quite a bit. Regarding price, this is where I raise my eyebrow. Unfortunately, due to our poor economic situation, the standard price for this car is R390 000, the one that I tested was over R400 000 with the added extras. Are your eyebrows raised, as well?
The other problem is that this Audi is R62 000 more expensive than the DSG Polo GTI on which it is based and although the Audi is a premium product, the Polo GTI ain’t exactly a bucket o’ bolts. Sixty-two grand is a lot of money, especially nowadays. I know that some of you are brand loyal and some are image conscious but as for me, I’d save the extra money and settle for the badge that started it all, GTI.
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