Frills optional: 2020 Audi A1 Sportback

2019-11-27 06:01
The 2020 Audi A1 Sportback.PHOTO: quickpic

The 2020 Audi A1 Sportback.PHOTO: quickpic

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THE last of Audi SA’s old-spec A1s eased off its showroom floor in April, making way for:

· A new face

· New nomenclature

· New, add-on option packages

· Two new engines and one power boost.

The front view presents squarer headlamps; a more prominent grille with larger dummy vents on either side; revised lower intake and, just below the bonnet, three air slits going nowhere; just evoking memories of the fire-breathing original quattro.

Around back you will find a redesigned tailgate, new lights and a lower panel with two more fake air inlets.

The interior is most changed of all with new steering wheel, reshaped instrument binnacle, strip air vents and a neatly built-in touchscreen to replace the old, tablet-styled device on top of the dash.

Toeing the corporate line, A1 adopts Audi’s new number codes denoting power and torque output ranges – “25” for little ones and “55” on muscular A8s. Heavyweights with R or S in their titles are exempted.

AS FOR OPTION PACKAGES, THESE WILL IN FUTURE BE FUNCTION­ORIENTED TO SIMPLIFY CHOICES:

· “Comfort” adds cruise control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning and boot hardware,

· “Technology” offers 10.25” virtual cockpit, smartphone interface and improved sound kit,

· “Sport” provides sports seats, D-shaped steering wheel, black headlining and Drive Select,

· “Lights”, for introductory models, covers LED head- and tail-lamps, dynamic indicators and dipping interior mirror,

· “S Line Interior” adds sport seats, S Line emblems, black headlining, manually adjustable lumbar support, special scuff plates, stainless steel pedals and a choice of upholstery upgrades.

Apart from the 999-cc triple gaining a power boost from 70 kW to 85 with lugging power increased from 160 Nm to 200, the 1.4 TFSI motor makes way for a new 1.5 TFSI developing 110 kW and 250 Nm while the “40” model gets an uprated 2.0-litre mill making 147 kW and 320 Nm.

SA’s A1 model range for 2020 presently consists of Standard, Advanced and S Line versions of 30 TFSI and 35 TFSI with seven-speed dual clutch gearboxes and the 40 TFSI, with six-speed S Tronic, available in S Line only.

Standard models provide 15” alloy wheels; spacesaver spare; tyre pressure monitoring; ESC; hill start; standard suspension; start-and-stop with regenerative braking; halogen headlights; rain- and light sensors; underbody protection; powered and heated wing mirrors; digital instruments; fabric seats; 8.8” media centre with six speakers, voice recognition and Bluetooth interface; manual air conditioning; height adjustable front seats and three i-Size mounting sets for baby chairs.

Advanced specification adds 16” wheels to the 30 model or 17-inch versions to the 35, along with different bumpers, door sill inserts and colours for diffuser, spoiler, grille and air intakes.

S Line adds sportier suspension and different appearance items.

The new 1498 cc, EA211 EVO-series motor uses a variable geometry turbocharger, electronically controlled charge-air cooling, 350-bar injectors and an integrated exhaust manifold. VW/Audi claims 10% efficiency gains versus the previous 1.4-litre unit and consumption reduced by about one litre per 100 kilometres.

The body, built on a newer platform, is 75 mm longer on a wheelbase stretched by 94 mm, as wide as before and stands 7 mm lower. What this means is greater comfort for backseat passengers around six feet tall and 65 litres more boot space. This is 760 mm long and a metre wide between the arches. Lifting height is about 69 cm and the well is eight cm deep with the baseboard on its upper setting or 18 when lowered. Maximum capacity is 335 litres. The spare is a spacesaver.

Glass area seemed more generous than we remembered it, HVAC and audio controls are neatly set out and easy to use, the engine offers all the power a family person could conceivably need, it turns on a button and the whole package feels solid. We also appreciated the “proper” hand brake and resting pad for the left foot.

Those in the back, while finding more space than before, might whine about not having seatback pockets or an armrest and regarding rather small door bins. Those in front aren’t much bigger while the oddments box under the console armrest is tiny.

On the whole, however, this A1 is solid, compact without being claustrophobic, goes like a student after free beer, is decently economical, stops well, steers easily and feels just right.

Test car from Audi SA press fleet.

THE NUMBERS

Price range: R359 900 to R488 000

Claimed average fuel consumption: 4.8 to 6.0 l/100 km

Tank: 40 litres

Luggage: 335 – 1 090 litres

Ground clearance: 121 mm

Turning circle: 10.5 metres

Audi Freeway Plan: Five years / 100 000 km

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