First drive in the new Audi A1

One of my besties bought herself an Audi A1 a few months back and I don’t think I have ever seen her so in love (and she is about to be married). I was, and am, so thrilled for her (regarding the car…and the marriage, obviously), but if I am honest, the previous Audi A1 never really appealed to me. I thought of it as too small and somewhat insignificant.

But now, let me tell you! This new Audi A1. Well, it is grown up in more ways than one and I now quite love it. I headed up to a very brown Gauteng to drive this second generation. As depressing as the landscape was, the A1 still managed to bring a great ol’ smile to my face.

Audi A1


It has had a rather revolutionary design change. Like the Audi Q3, it is far more mature looking. It is sportier and as manufacturers like to say, aggressive in design. It is more muscular and the difference between this new model and the outgoing one is immediately noticeable. It has grown in length by 56 mm, but the width and height have been decreased. The wheelbase, however, has grown by 94 mm. This can only mean one thing…more space!

The colours on offer are eye-catching to say the least. Having lost our way on the pre-determined launch route, it was easy to find our way back as we saw a Python Yellow A1 in the distance and managed to get back on track. (I so wish it was not called Python Yellow, I cannot believe I have mentioned the name of a snake on my website, twice! Eeeeuuuuuwwwww!).


The extra space is very apparent, the boot has even seen an increase of 65-litres taking it to a total luggage capacity of 335-litres. Pop the rear seats down and you will get 1 090-litres. Not bad for an “entry-level” Audi.

Audi A1

The interior is just as impressive. It is modern and I just adore the standard 8.8-inch MMI touchscreen that is standard across the range. Manufacturers love to tell you that their cabins are driver-focused. This isn’t always the case, however, the A1 certainly is. The screen is angled toward the driver in such a way that it makes for such ease of use. Also, it is an Audi infotainment system, so you know it is going to be user-friendly, precise and slick.

Audi A1


The new Audi A1 sees a lot of the tech you would usually find in the higher end models. Sure, most of them are optional extras, but the point is, they are available. Things such as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit or Audi’s Phone Box are on offer. Just opt for the Technology Package at R9 900 and you’ll get the Virtual Cockpit, Audi Smartphone Interface as well as Audi’s Sound System.

Speaking of packages, there are five to choose from, depending on which model you choose. The packages include Comfort, Lights (for 30 TFSI only), Sport, S Line Interior and the Technology package I mentioned. Audi is making things a whole lot easier for their customers with these packages. No more long lists of features to trek through.

Audi A1


You can choose between three trim levels namely; Standard, Advanced (+R14 000) or S Line (+R29 000). And then you have three engines to choose from. There is a 1.0-litre engine, but I did not get to drive this at the launch. But I did get to drive the other two on offer. The predicted bulk seller 1.5-litre and the 2.0-litre (which is only available in the S Line).

As much as the 1.5-litre will more than likely be the bigger seller of the three, it was the 2.0-litre that I really enjoyed. Perhaps just because it offers up more power, but it also feels more dynamic and far more engaging to drive. It produces 147 kW and 320 Nm (the 1.5 offers you 110 kW and 250 Nm). Neither engine will disappoint you, however. There is no manual on offer which is already a plus for me; convenience and all that!


If, like me, your heart has always been set on an Audi A3 but your budget had other ideas, then the new Audi A1 is certainly your next best bet. I would be more than happy driving this car on a daily basis. It is a product that is refined enough, practical enough, stylish enough and feels premium and luxurious. Take it for a spin, you’ll be better off for it. Now to convince my friend to upgrade


The Audi A1 comes standard with the Audi Freeway plan (5 year / 100 000 km):

  • Audi A1 30 TFSI S tronic at R 359,900
  • Audi A1 30 TFSI Advanced S tronic at R 373,900
  • Audi A1 30 TFSI S line S tronic at R 388,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI S tronic at R 429,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI Advanced S tronic at R 443,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI S line S tronic at R 458,900
  • Audi A1 40 TFSI S line S tronic at R 488,000

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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