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Driven: All-new Audi A1 grows up

Second-generation Audi A1 light hatch to play conquest role in brand’s line-up

1 Nov 2019

AUDI Australia says that despite having modest sales hopes for the new-generation A1, the light hatch will play an important role as a conquest model in the German car-maker’s range.


The A1 represents an entry point to the Audi range, with 80 per cent of buyers either first-time buyers or coming from mainstream brands for the first time, with 50 per cent of those buyers remaining a customer beyond their initial purchase.


This forms a major reason for bringing the all-new A1 to Australia, where the premium light-car segment in which it plays has dropped in popularity, down 33.5 per cent in the year to date and down 11.1 per cent in 2018.


Audi Australia product planning and pricing director Shawn Ticehurst said the A1 would likely sell the least of its entry-level product range but was nonetheless an important car for the brand.


“As often, we don’t publish particular sales number on this car, but we see it playing a really important role in our entry portfolio alongside A3, Q2 and Q3,” he said.


“In terms of an order of those cars, Q3 will logically become our best seller. A3 will be a clear second place, Q2 would be a clear third place and A1 fourth.”


Mr Ticehurst added that despite the general trend away from smaller passenger cars and towards SUVs, there was never any question that Audi Australia would bring the second-generation A1 Down Under.


“It plays such an important role bringing people in, and the fact that over half of (conquest buyers) stay with Audi, it then feeds them through the Audi range, so there was never a question of whether to bring the car in, it basically went straight in to, ‘How do we structure the range?’,” he said.


Three variants will be offered on the new A1 range, which now kicks off from $32,350 plus on-roads for the base 30 TFSI, up to $35,290 for the mid-level 35 TFSI and topping out at $46,450 for the range-topping 40 TFSI.


Point of entry to the brand has increased by $4750 over the outgoing range, while the 40 TFSI is $5650 dearer than the previous-gen 1.8 TFSI S Line.


Mr Ticehurst said the increase in price is offset by a boost in size and specification, but the higher cost may affect sales volume in comparison.


“I think there’s so much more substance in the car, especially the larger size … it really grows half a size and it’s bigger than the original A3,” he said.


“So the fact it’s grown up in size, it’s got a lot more safety, a lot more technology in the interior of the car, and a big boost in standard equipment, I think the price is more than justified.”


The mid-level 35 TFSI is expected to be the most popular variant with 50 per cent of sales, with the other two grades to account for about 25 per cent of sales each.


Audi says the high-performance S1 grade will not be offered in the second-generation S1, due to the expensive development required to engineer quattro all-wheel drive, which is a requirement for all S and RS models.


All three variants will be offered with different powertrains, starting with a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine for the 30 TFSI, developing 85kW from 5000-5500rpm and 200Nm from 2000-3000rpm, driving the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.


Average fuel consumption is rated at 5.4 litres per 100km, while carbon emissions are pegged at 122 grams per km.


The volume-selling 35 TFSI employs a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder producing 110kW from 5000-6000rpm and 250Nm from 1500-3500rpm, while using the same seven-speed dual-clutch as the 30 TFSI. The 35 TFSI sips 5.8L/100km and emits 132g/km.


Meanwhile, the 40 TFSI increases displacement to 2.0 litres and boosts outputs to 147kW from 4400-6000rpm and 320Nm from 1500-4400rpm while losing one cog from its dual-clutch auto.


Unsurprisingly, the 40 TFSI is the thirstiest variant at 6.4L/100km, with 146g/km of CO2 emissions.


From the outside, the A1 has increased in length by 56mm and wheelbase by a significant 94mm, while wheel track has also grown 47mm at the front and 30mm at the rear. Roof height has come down by 7mm.


The increased exterior size has resulted in greater interior space, with 7mm more rear legroom as a result of customer feedback, and 335 litres of storage space (up 65L), which can be expanded to 1090L with the rear pews folded flat.


Audi says the new A1, which rides on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, has greater interior space than the original A3 small car.


Inside, Audi has drawn inspiration from the original A1’s cabin but has given it a modern twist with a number of new technological features.


All A1 variants come standard with an 8.8-inch touchscreen using Audi’s MMI infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Anroid Auto compatibility as well as a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, and USB Type A and C ports.


Standard equipment on the 30 TFSI includes 16-inch alloy wheels, electronically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, DAB+ digital radio, an 80W six-speaker audio system, cloth upholstery, a multi-function steering wheel and cruise control.


Stepping up to the 35 TFSI adds 17-inch hoops, anauto-dimming rearview mirror, a convenience key, Audi phone box light and wireless charging.


The 40 TFSI increases spec with the addition of a 10.1-inch infotainment display with MMI Navigation Plus, Audi connect plus, a Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, 18-inch alloys, S line exterior package, LED headlgihts with dynamic indicators, red brake callipers, Dynamic Select drive modes, dual-zone climate control and front sports seats.


Standard active safety features across the range include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and six airbags. A five-star ANCAP safety rating is applied across the range.


A number of option packages are available across the range to boost exterior styling and technology, including the $2990 Style pack on 30 and 35 TFSI versions that bundle LED headlights with dynamic indicators, one-inch-larger alloy wheels and other premium accents.


The new A1 range goes on sale this month.

2019 Audi A1 pricing*
30 TFSI (a) $32,350
35 TFSI (a) $35,290
40 TFSI (a) $46,450

 *Excludes on-road costs

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