The classic Quattro-style slats above the A1’s huge grille didn’t go unnoticed when the car was leaked earlier this week. Sure enough, the rally legend is name-checked in the official press release.
Also, Audi says that the A1 is supposed to have a “resemblance” to the Sport Quattro and the standard Ur-Quattro from the side. “The wide, flat sloping C-pillar seems to push the car forward even while standing still. All lines on the flanks, from the window edge to the sill, slope upward toward the rear in a wedge shape,” Audi says. Lovely.
The A1 shares its MQB A0 platform with the VW Polo (and the Seat Ibiza, for that matter) so it should come as no surprise that it shares engines with its Wolfsburg-branded stablemate. So, that means there’s a 94bhp inline-three, a 1.5-litre TSI ‘Evo’ inline-four, and the 197bhp 2.0-litre lump from the Polo GTI. There won’t be a diesel option from launch.
If 197bhp doesn’t cut the mustard for you, don’t panic: a hotter ‘S1’ is expected, and it should arrive at some point in 2019. It’ll have a Haldex-style four-wheel drive system, and an ‘EA888’ 2.0-litre inline-four turbo, most likely outputting around 250bhp.
The outgoing A1 uses a piddly little flip-up infotainment screen mounted atop the dashboard, but for the average tech-obsessed new car buyer, that simply won’t do. As such, Audi has slapped a massive 10.1-inch ‘MMI’ touchscreen into the centre console - the same unit you’d find in much larger and plusher cars from the range.
Entry-level models will have a “fully digital instrument cluster,” which is upgradable to the full Audi virtual cockpit experience if you fancy.
Like any modern supermini worth its salt, the A1 is stuffed full of assistance systems. We’re talking about lane departure warnings, forward collision warnings, autonomous emergency braking and a feature which will steer for you during parallel and horizontal parking manoeuvres . Handy.
Just like the Polo, the A1 is a little bigger than before. It’s 56mm longer, although width has stayed about the same. There’s more room inside for all occupants, Audi says, and there’s now an extra 65 litres of boot space, bringing the total to 335 litres - 43 more than you get in a Fiesta. Fold the seats down, and you have 1090 litres of dog-friendly space to play with.
Order books for the new A1 will open this summer. There’s no UK pricing available yet, but the starting price in Germany will be under €20,000. Deliveries will kick off towards the end of 2018.