The sporty and youthful A1 has been even more attractive with an Audi A1 Sportback, which will be rolling into showrooms in early 2012.
It is the five-door compact Audi for a young, urban public. The close relationship with its three-door sister model is evident in the design, the structure of the lightweight body and the dimensions of the new model, which measures 3.95 meters (12.96 ft) in length.
The car is now is several millimeters taller, offering more headroom in the rear. The wheelbase remains unchanged compared with the 3-door model.
We were present at the introduction of the car in the Audi Brussels factory, and the car impressed with very pleasing lines…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Audi A1 Sportback takes up the design of the three-door A1. The engine hood and the rear hatch wrap around the body, the shoulder line encircles the entire car and the elegantly flowing roof with its integrated spoiler flows into a steeply sloped C-pillar.
The front end is dominated by the large single-frame grille which has beveled upper corners. The headlights are also available with xenon plus lamps, with LEDs giving the daytime running lights a homogenous appearance.
The sculpted tail lights are also equipped with light-emitting diodes – in this case SuperRed LEDs.
Upon request, Audi will paint the roof line – the roof arch, the roof and the roof spoiler – in a contrasting colour. A wide choice of paint finishes is available, including the new color Samoa Orange, which is exclusive to the A1 Sportback, and which you see here also on the photos.
Another option is the S line exterior package with its smart, sporty details. The accessories program for the A1 Sportback will later include kits with aerodynamic add-on parts and colorful decal sets.
The Audi A1 Sportback is 3.95 meters (12.96 ft) long and has a wheelbase of 2.47 meters (8.10 ft), just like the three-door model. It is six millimeters (0.24 in) wider and taller than the three-door model, however, at 1.75 meters (5.74 ft) and 1.42 meters (4.66 ft), respectively. Its aerodynamics have been fine-tuned so that the base version boasts a coefficient of drag of just 0.32.
Lightweight, rigid and spacious body…
Comprising roughly two-thirds of the A1 Sportback’s body is made of high- and ultra high-strength steels The strongest of these are the hot-shaped steels, which are used primarily in the occupant cell.
The lightweight body lays the groundwork for the low gross weight – the A1 Sportback 1.2 TFSI tips the scales at just 1,065 kilograms (2,347.92 lb).
The interior of the Audi A1 Sportback is quite spacious, certainly at the front.
The instrument panel, whose front slopes gradually toward the cabin, resembles an airplane wing. The center console is inclined slightly toward the driver; the four round air vents are reminiscent of jet engines.
The console on the center tunnel is reminiscent of the rear of a sailing yacht.
A classic Audi strength is the high-quality workmanship.
The A1 Sportback comes standard with four seats; a fifth seat is optional. They provide a sportily low seating position and good support. Headroom and shoulder room have each been increased roughly one centimeter (0.39 in) compared with the three-door sister model.
Powerful and efficient engines…
The Audi A1 Sportback is available with a choice of six four-cylinder engines: three TFSI and three TDI units.
All of the engines follow the downsizing principle – they substitute forced induction for displacement and draw their fuel through direct injection units. All versions except the 1.6TDIwith S tronic and the most powerful gasoline engine are equipped with a start-stop system.
The base engine, the 1.2 TFSI, produces 63 kW (86 hp). Particularly effective thermal management contributes to its low fuel consumption of 5.1 liters per 100 km (46.12USmpg).
The two 1.4-liter TFSI engines produce 90 kW (122 hp) and 136 kW (185 hp).
The top-of-the-line gasoline engine is supercharged and turbocharged, resulting in 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) of torque, a zero-to-100 km/h (62.14 mph) time of 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 227 km/h (141.05 mph).
Three TDI units round out the lineup. The 1.6-liter engine is available in two different versions, with 66 kW (90 hp) and 77 kW (105 hp).
When paired with a manual transmission, both versions consume just 3.8 liters of fuel per 100 km (61.90USmpg) on average, which corresponds to only 99 grams of CO2/km (159.33 g/mile).
Audi offers the marvellous seven-speed S tronic as an option with the 1.4 TFSI with 90 kW (122 hp) and 1.6TDIwith 66 kW (90 hp); it comes standard with the top TFSI model with 136 kW (185 hp).
Sporty and stable chassis
We mentioned already several times on these pages the unique driving pleasure which the A1 offers.
The chassis is tuned for agility. It is even sportier in the Ambition trim line and more dynamic again with the S line sport suspension.
The Attraction trim line includes 15-inch steel wheels, while the Ambition comes with 16-inch alloy wheels (1.4 TFSI with 136 kW (185 hp) comes standard with 17-inch wheels). Audi offers 17-inch cast aluminum wheels with 215/40-series tires as an option.
A new seven-spoke design is exclusive to the five-door model. But for those who want still more, the optional 18-inch alloy wheels from quattro GmbH provide for an even sportier appearance.
The ESP stabilization program with electronic limited slip differential, which comes standard on all models, makes the handling even more precise while also enhancing driving safety.
Equipment underlines individuality…
The Audi A1 Sportback will debut with an extensive array of standard features.
The base Attraction line already comes equipped with manual air conditioning, a split rear seat, a radio remote-controlled central locking system, power-adjustable side mirrors, power windows, the chorus radio and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.
Exterior details identifying the Ambition line are 16-inch alloy wheels, high-gloss exhaust tailpipes and fog lights. The sport seats include lumbar supports, and the passenger seat is also height-adjustable. The shift lever, the steering wheel and the handbrake lever are covered in leather; some areas of the cabin are highlighted with aluminum-look trim and the air vents are in high-gloss black.
The driver information system includes the on-board computer with efficiency program and gear-change indicator (with manual transmission). Special seat upholstery and interior color choices round out the Ambition line.
Many individual options reflect the high-tech expertise of the A1 Sportback.
These include the xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights, the high-beam assistant, the light and rain sensor, the panoramic sunroof, the convenience key, the alarm system, two different parking system versions and cruise control, to name a few.
Audi also offers deluxe automatic air conditioning, tinted windows, heated front seats and an easy-to-use leather multifunction sport steering wheel, which can also be equipped with shift paddles for the S tronic. From special colors for the air vents to fine leather upholstery – the price list offers nearly every customization option imaginable.
Style and media packages to choose from…
Two packages are available for both trim lines. The media package includes the concert radio system, the connectivity package, the leather multifunction sport steering wheel and the driver information system.
The style package brings youthfully fresh color accents to the interior, including on the doors, the “yacht stern” and the air vents.
The LED interior lighting package bathes the cabin in cool light. The aluminum-look trim visually underscores the A1 Sportback’s sporty potential.
Additional exterior features are the contrasting roof line, the LED tail lights and the body-color side mirrors. quattro GmbH offers the S line exterior package, the S line sport package and the Audi exclusive line.
Customers can order a variety of exterior and interior kits from the accessories range, even after the initial sale.
Communicative: infotainment and Audi connect
A modular range of infotainment systems with components taken directly from the luxury class is available for the Audi A1 Sportback.
The first component is the optional concert radio with its SD card reader. It serves as the foundation for the connectivity package, which includes the Audi music interface, a Bluetooth telephone preparation kit and a navigation preparation kit.
The customer can activate the latter at a later time.
Audi also supplies the connectivity package as part of the media package. The next step up is the navigation package, in which the navigation feature is already enabled.
At the top of the line is MMI navigation plus, which sets new standards in the small compact segment. It includes a large hard disk, the MMI operating principle, aDVDdrive and powerful voice control. The 6.5-inch monitor, which folds out from the instrument panel, displays three-dimensional graphics in high resolution.
The A1 now rolls off the production line in the Brussels factory, for delivery early next year...
Examples of the additional high-end complementary features available include a digital audio tuner and the 465-watt Bose surround sound system with 14 speakers. The front woofers are illuminated with LEDs. Bluetooth and wired interfaces are available for cellular phones and external players.
Another novelty in the segment is the Bluetooth online car phone that brings Audi connect, the new online services from Audi, to the A1 Sportback. These include navigation with images from Google Earth and Google Street View, specially prepared news, weather and travel information, web radio and voice-controlledPOIsearch. A WLAN hotspot connects mobile devices on board to the Internet.
Audi traffic information online provides a precise and up-to-the-minute picture of traffic on the chosen route.
And let’s admit, even not taking the shortest route can be quite charming, behind this compact five-door Audi, which indeed drives like a gem…
Hans Knol ten Bensel