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Audi A1 Sportback

Motoring Review

Audi has heeded the call for more practical five-door hatchback cars for sale in South Africa and recently launched their new Audi A1 Sportback.  Based on their also recently launched three-door A3, but with the addition of two extra doors, the A1 Sportback is best suited to first-time families wanting both practicality and exclusivity.

When looking at the Audi A1 Sportback from the side it does not differ a lot from the two door A3 variant.  There is a slightly longer roof line and an extra 6mm of width and height at the rump.  The elongated roof line does help to create extra headroom – Audi claims 11 mm more for rear occupants.  The Audi A1 Sportback carries all Audi’s core visual styling such as the beveled single-frame grille and prominent shoulder line.  The appearance of the A1 Sportback can also be personalised with an optional contrasting two-tone colour treatment (or sticker patterns) on the roof, arches, spoiler and rear diffuser trimming.

As always, quality and finish are still very much the main focus inside the Audi A1 Sportback.  There are solid finishes and specifications are of a high standard.  The fold-out infotainment display screen can be spec'd with an MMI navigation system that includes a hard drive, DVD drive and 3D graphics.  The rear seats fold down and boot space expands to a useful 920 litres (270 litres with the seats up).  The seating arrangement can be described as 4+1, with the centre rear seat only ideal for small passengers.  The A1 Sportback's interior can be customised in a range of colours, ranging from white to lime green and the latest MMI 3G system will allow A1 owners to connect their phone via Bluetooth and turn their entire car into a Wi-fi hotspot.
Newcomer A1 Sportback comes with exactly the same set of engines and transmissions as its two-door sibling.  The model line-up comprises two petrol TFSI engines and a single 77 kW/250 Nm 1.6 TDI.  The 63kW/160Nm 1.2T FSI makes up the entry-level version while the 1.4 is available as a 90kW/200Nm and the twincharged 136kW/250Nm version.  Audi’s seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission (the only gearbox available on this flagship A1 Sportback) is superb and will switch through its ratios smoothly with 'normal' and 'sport' settings available to suit driver mood and fuel budget.

The onboard technologies on Audi vehicles these days make then some of the safest cars in the world.  The Audi A1 Sportback has ABS, ASR (Anti-slip regulation), EBD, EDL (Electronic Differential lock) and Audi's ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) to mention a few.  Added to this is a high-performance braking system and Audi Sideguard® (in the event of side impact) and intelligent airbag system.

This flagship A1 Sportback has the makings of a very likeable little hatch.  With all the premium Audi look and feel about it, and with the added practicality of five-doors, the A1 is set to stake its claim to a top spot in the Audi line-up.  For young executives looking at buying a car in the Audi range, the A1 offers a good mix of comfort, quality finishes and added practicality for when little “mini-me's” enter the equation.  Look at the pricing carefully, though... even if you opt for an entry level model and add a few extras the price starts to climb into A3 and A3 Sportback territory.  It is rumored that the Sportback isn’t the last derivative we will see of the A1, as both a convertible and a high-performance S1 are in the works. 

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