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First look: Audi outs new-generation A1 Sportback

A plus: Measuring 4030mm long, 1740mm wide and 1410mm tall, the second-generation A1 Sportback is 57mm longer, 6mm narrower and 12mm shorter than its forebear.

Audi loads up on aggression, technology for latest A1 Sportback due here H1 2019


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20 Jun 2018

AUDI has outed its second-generation A1 Sportback light hatch that will usher in a more aggressive look and fresh technology when it arrives in Australian showrooms in the first half of next year.


Unlike its predecessor that had three- and five-door body styles, the latest model will be offered only in five-door form.


The new exterior design is more aggressive, thanks to a combination of angles and heavy creases. Three flat slits below the edge of the bonnet pay homage to the 1984 Sport Quattro rally car.


Buyers can choose from four exterior packages – Basic, Advanced, S Line or Edition – while the choice of 11 paint colours can be complemented by a contrasting hue for the A-pillars, roof-mounted spoiler, side mirrors, front spoiler lips and side skirts.


Alloy wheel sizes range from 15 to 18 inches, while the lighting package can extend to full-LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and two-part 3D-style LED tail-lights.


Inside, the A1 Sportback leaps into the digital age, gaining a standard 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and optional 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support and handwriting recognition.


Available equipment further extends to one USB-A port, one USB-C port, wireless smartphone charging, digital radio, a 560-watt 11-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, LED ambient lighting and heated seats.


Three interior packages – Advanced, Design Selection or S Line – allow buyers to customise their A1 Sportbacks with different colours and materials for the cabin’s main elements.


Measuring 4030mm long, 1740mm wide and 1410mm tall, the A1 Sportback is 57mm longer, 6mm narrower and 12mm shorter than its forebear.


As a result, cargo capacity has been increased 65 litres, to 335L, but can expand to 1090L when the split-fold second row is stowed. The load space is at least 1000mm wide.


Advanced driver-assist safety systems extend to low-speed autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, park assist, a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, and hill-start assist.


Turbocharged petrol engine options range from a 70kW 1.0-litre three-cylinder (25 TFSI) to a 147kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder (40 TFSI), with each featuring a particulate filter to meet the incoming WLTP emissions regulations. That spread also includes a 1.5-litre four-pot unit.


The range-topping 40 TFSI comes with a six-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the others are mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed S Tronic driving the front wheels.


According to British automotive publication <i>Autocar</i>, the S1 Sportback will resume flagship responsibilities in late 2019 when it debuts with a 186kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine – an increase of 16kW over the current iteration’s four-cylinder unit. It is likely to again include Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system.


Riding on the same MQB A0 platform as the sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo, the A1 Sportback uses ultra-high-strength composites for 27 per cent of its bodyshell, helping to improve passive safety and torsional rigidity.


The suspension set-up consists of MacPherson struts with coil springs at the front and a torsion-beam rear axle with a stabiliser bar down back. An optional stiffer sports suspension includes adjustable shock absorbers.


The standard brakes feature ventilated 276mm front discs and 230mm rear rotors, but these can be increased to 312mm and 272mm respectively with one of two optional Dynamic packages that also add red brake callipers and the aforementioned suspension upgrades.


Four available driving modes – Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency and Individual – allow the driver to alter engine, transmission, steering, suspension, driver-assist and idle-stop settings on the move.


Australian pricing and specification is expected to be announced closer to the A1 Sportback’s local launch.


Sales of the A1 Sportback have taken a slight hit this year, with 461 sold to the end of May – down 11.5 per cent on the 521 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.


This places the A1 Sportback second in the $25,000-plus light-car segment, trailing the Mini Hatch (912 units) but ahead of the Mini Clubman (207), Citroen C3 (56), Peugeot 208 (55) and Renault Zoe (20).

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