First Look: 2011 Audi A1 Is Ready To Take On The Competition
By John Beltz Snyder
February 10, 2010
Audi has unveiled the compact A1, which will debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Claiming to be the “sportiest car in the segment,” the little guy boasts an “agile chassis” and a lineup of turbocharged engines.
The young customers of the A1 live in major cities and therefore are looking for a vehicle that is designed for the urban environment. Thanks to its compact dimensions, it is very agile and nimble in city traffic and offers a high degree of everyday utility.
The interior of the A1 is also sporty and of high quality. Customers can customize numerous details to tailor the car to their personal tastes. Audi’s latest model has a broad portfolio of advanced technologies on board; its infotainment system sets new standards in the segment. The A1 is the first premium automobile in the small compacts class – a true, fully-fledged Audi.
The Audi brand stands for automotive passion. With its agile chassis and powerful engines, the A1 is the sportiest car in its class, and this is readily apparent at first glance. The design is unique and modern. Styling cues placing the A1 in the Audi family include the side line with the distinctive roof arch, the coupe-like C-pillars, the large wheel wells and, of course, the front end with the typical single-frame grille. The hood and rear hatch encompass the body; the tail lights are three-dimensionally molded and present an unmistakable design, day or night.
The interior: airy and dynamic
The interior of the A1 is spacious and airy. The instrument panel is suggestive of an airplane wing; its four round air nozzles are reminiscent of the turbines of a jet. The clear ergonomics and the uncompromisingly high fit and finish typify the Audi brand’s high standards. Many lovingly designed details in the interior document the premium character of the Audi A1.
In addition to the Attraction and Ambition trim lines, Audi also offers a media style package focused on infotainment and the interior design. The innovative materials and modern colors underscore the character of the A1. Whether colored air nozzles, LED interior lights or seat covers in expressive colors – customization is an important catchword. The equipment program offers countless opportunities for matching the A1 to the driver’s own personal style. There are even a variety of paint finishes from which to choose for the roof arch. Customers can order many of these features after the initial sale to follow a trend or a whim.
The available infotainment and multimedia systems available come directly from the luxury class. The top of the line is MMI navigation plus, a media center that sets new standards in the compact segment. From the monitor that rises up out of the instrument panel to the control unit that follows the MMI logic, it is oriented on the systems found in Audi models in the higher segments. Based on the concert radio, the connectivity package offers the option of retrofitting an Audi map-based navigation system – a novelty in the automotive sector. The 465 watt Bose surround sound system is just one example of the complementary modules available.
Concentrated driving pleasure: the sportiest car in its class
The sporty, agile chassis of the A1 places it at the head of its class. Whether in the city, on an interurban road or on the highway – the A1 is great fun to drive anywhere thanks to its sporty setup, the optimized weight distribution and the very direct steering. The standard ESP stabilization system with electronic axle- differential lock makes the handling of the A1 even more sporty and precise, while driving safety is increased even further.
The new A1 also sets new efficiency standards. Audi is sending the new model line into the fray with four four-cylinder engines, with the two TDI and two TFSI gasoline engines producing between 63 kW (86 hp) and 90 kW (122 hp). All of the engines follow the downsizing principle – they substitute turbocharging for displacement and draw their fuel through direct injection units.
All versions of the A1 impress with good fuel economy, with standard cycle values between 3.8 and 5.4 liters per 100 kilometers (43.56 - 61.90 US mpg) (provisional values). The 1.6 TDI with 66 kW (90 hp) and manual transmission emits only 99 g of CO2 per kilometer (159.33 g/mile). All of the engines are equipped with a recuperation system that allows them to recover energy during braking, and are coupled with an automatic start-stop system. A new temperature management system with switched water pump contributes to the low fuel consumption of the 1.2 TFSI.
High-tech and efficiency: the seven-speed S tronic
At Audi, efficiency is always high-tech. The A1 is available with the seven-speed S tronic transmission. The dual-clutch transmission changes gears extremely quickly, comfortably and without detectable interruptions in pulling power. It offers both automatic and manual modes, with paddles on the steering wheel available as an option. It provides for tremendously fun driving and also further reduces fuel consumption – typical Audi.
The A1 is sporty, powerful and attractive. As a newcomer in the compact segment, it appeals to a modern customer group – a young, urban, lifestyle- oriented public. A1 customers – many of whom are expected to be women – are interested in design, music, fashion and sports. The entry-level model will be priced at around 16,000 euros.
At a glance - The new Audi A1
Design and body
– Distinctively progressive, coupe-like design, encompassing shoulder line, large wheel wells, contrasting custom-look roof arch as an option
– Headlights with characteristic appearance, optional xenon plus with LED daytime running lights, three-dimensionally styled tail lights
– High-strength body with uncompromising build quality
Interior and equipment
– Dynamic interior design reminiscent of aeronautical engineering
– Top-level fit and finish, modern materials and colors
– Two trim levels and media style package, many very comfortable and sporty features available, numerous opportunities for customization
– Latest infotainment technologies, optional retractable MMI display on the instrument panel
– High-performance navigation system with MMI control concept
– Comprehensive options for the connection and playback of mobile phones and portable music media, Bluetooth interface
– Connectivity package for the later integration of an Audi map-based navigation system
– Bose audio system with LED fiberoptic technology
– Two powerful and efficient TDI and two TFSI engines, all with turbocharging and direct fuel injection, power output from 63 kW (86 hp) to 90 kW (122 hp)
– All engines with recuperation system and start-stop system; 1.2 TFSI with thermal management
– 1.6 TDI with 66 kW (90 hp) and 77 kW (105 hp) and manual transmission emit as little as 99 g of CO2 per kilometer (159.33 g/mile) (provisional value).
– Optional seven-speed S tronic
– On-board computer with efficiency program
– Balanced axle load distribution, low total weight
– Sporty chassis with wide track; direct steering ratio
– ESP stabilization system with electronic front differential lock to bolster the agile handling
The next big Audi – The Audi A1
The A1 is a true Audi – it is both the premium option and the sportiest automobile in the small compacts class. It comes with powerful, highly efficient engines and an agile chassis, and delights with an emotional design and excellent fit and finish. The A1 has a broad portfolio of advanced technologies on board; its infotainment system, in particular, sets new standards in the class.
As the newcomer in the compact segment, the A1 appeals primarily to young, lifestyle-oriented customers, offering them a high degree of freedom for individual design. Audi’s latest will hit the streets this summer with a base price of around 16,000 euros.
It has a confident road stance – powerful, distinctive and full of character: The A1 is both the premium option and the athlete in its class. The pronounced encompassing shoulder line, the color-contrasted roof arch and the unusually sharply sloping C-pillars give the three-door an unmistakable silhouette. The dimensions also document the dynamic lines: 3.95 meters (12.96 feet) long, the latest model from Audi is an impressive 1.74 meters (5.71 feet) wide but only 1.42 meters (4.66 feet) tall. The wheelbase measures 2.47 meters (8.10 feet); the overhangs are correspondingly short.
The design of the A1 is tightly integrated into the brand's design language and unique in the compact segment – emotional, bold and progressive. Audi has a reputation for taking a lot of ideas and innovations from its concept cars into series production, and the A1 continues this tradition. Many of the features and innovative ideas from the 2007 A1 project quattro showcar have already made it to series production in the A1.
The front end bears an unmistakable family resemblance, but features unique accents and innovations in the details. The single-frame grille, for example, is harmoniously integrated into the front end and with its angled top corners represents a new evolutionary stage. Its braces are arranged horizontally to emphasize the width of the front. The large, plastically modeled air intakes with their horizontal bars also contribute to the sporty appearance of the A1. The fog lights are located in their outer corners.
The three-dimensionally styled headlights also have their own special look. The A1 looks determined and concentrated to the road. A strongly curved wing structures the interior of the headlights. As with every Audi, the daytime running lights are standard. With the optional xenon plus units, the daytime running lights are implemented using LEDs and a light guide. They appear as a homogenous strip that traces the wing.
Powerful design element: the tornado line
The most striking impression when viewed from the side is the straight, slightly upward course of the lines, which visually stretch and accelerate the A1. The upper edge of the hood extends below the side windows to the rear end. As with the Audi TT sports car, the point where the encompassing hood meets the fenders is the point of origin for a typical Audi design element – the tornado line. It continues in the door and the rear flank. The line runs closely and precisely above the wheel wells, giving the A1 a powerful road stance.
The heavy shaded edge beneath the tornado line, the powerfully arched sheet metal surfaces on the flanks and the rising dynamic line above the sills are also characteristic of the brand’s design language. The same is true of the expressively shaped wheel wells, which provide shelter to wheels measuring up to 18 inches, and for the ratio of sheet metal surfaces to the greenhouse, which is two-thirds to one-third. The side mirrors are mounted on the doors like with a sports car; the door handles are distinctly bow-shaped.
Another Audi feature is the sportily flowing roof arch, which is optionally available in one of four contrasting colors. The arch flows into a C-pillar that is flatter than on a coupe, giving the rear end a dynamic outline that is further emphasized by the roof spoiler.
When viewed from the rear, an encompassing luggage compartment hatch emphasizes the width – an exclusive feature new to the compact class. The hatch is distinctively shaped. The wedge-shaped single-piece tail lights also underline wideness and are plastically integrated into the design. In combination with xenon plus, the tail lights use LED technology. Because they cannot be seen when the luggage compartment hatch is open, the Audi A1 has additional LED lamps in its side flanks. This solution is another example of the loving attention to detail and enthusiasm for technology of the Audi engineers.
The tail lights have a sporty red frame, with a curved bar dividing their chambers. Audi optionally equips them with light-emitting diodes and light guides – the tail light then appears as a continuous strip. A sporty black diffuser in the skirt forms the bottom of the rear end and visually places the vehicle firmly on the road. Depending on the engine, the exhaust system ends in one or two tailpipes on the left side.
Audi offers the A1 in ten exterior colors. The solid finishes are Amalfi White, Cumulus Blue and Brilliant Black; the metallic colors are Ice Silver, Phantom Black, Teak Brown, Shiraz Red, Scuba Blue, Misano Red and Sphere Blue.
An Audi truism also applies to the A1: The body establishes the foundation for the quality, for the precise, sporty handling and for safety. Two-thirds of the body comprises high- and ultra high-strength steels of different strength classes.
The strongest of these are the hot-shaped steels. The blanks are heated in a furnace to extreme temperatures then immediately shaped in a water-cooled pressing die. This rapid change in temperature imparts them with extreme tensile strength. Hot-shaped steels make up a good 11 percent of the body. They are used for the lower crossmember in the footwell, in the rear sections of the longitudinal members, in the B-pillars and in the roof frame – anywhere extreme strength combined with low weight is particularly important.
The high- and ultra high-strength steels are a significant factor for the high torsional rigidity of the body and its low weight of only 221 kilograms (487.22 lb). These two values and the dimensions are used to compute the high lightweight quality of the superstructure while also providing the basis for a high level of occupant protection.
The A1 comes standard with two front airbags, side airbags in the backrests of the front seats and two curtain head airbags. Belt tensioners and belt force limiters plus the Audi integral headrest system round out the package of retention systems. Isofix child seat anchor points in the rear are standard. Belt buckle sensors at all seats are another increased safety feature. And when it comes to pedestrian protection, the A1 is also equipped with cutting edge technology.
Low-speed collisions – light bumps in parking lots and the so-called typical claim crash so important for the insurance rating – do not result in any major damage. The layout of the bumpers, the crossmember behind them and the longitudinal members protect cost-intensive components such as the radiator and air conditioners.
Aerodynamically optimized: from the front skirt to the rear spoiler
With 0.32 coefficient of drag for the base model, the newest Audi is among the most aerodynamic cars in its class. This is the result of extensive fine-tuning at the Ingolstadt Wind Tunnel Center. The entire body has been optimized – from the rear spoiler, including the spoiler edges, to the underbody and the wheels. The aerodynamic underbody largely covers the underbody, protecting it and creating favorable aerodynamic air flow.
The corners and other edge regions of the skirts feature a sophisticated design that not only sinks the coefficient of drag, but also improves driving stability at high speeds. The area around the grille is completely sealed so that the inflowing air reaches the radiator with virtually no losses instead of becoming turbulent. Even such subtleties as the flow of air through the engine compartment have been optimized to the finest detail with respect to thermo- and aerodynamics.
Another of the body’s strengths is its acoustics. The Audi development engineers devoted considerable attention to the sound radiation of the large sheet metal panels and their rigidities. All regions at which forces are induced during driving were specially reinforced. A lightweight insulation package brings the acoustics in the passenger cabin up to the premium level.
The A1 will be built at the Audi plant in Brussels. Audi invested more than 100 million euros in the modernization of the production facility in order to completely satisfy the most stringent of quality standards.
Sportiness, precision and youthful freshness – these themes characterize the interior of the A1. The designers looked to airplane wings for inspiration for the elegantly curving instrument panel. The four round, far-protruding air nozzles are reminiscent of the turbines of a jet.
The center console, with its integrated strip of secondary switches, resembles the stern of a yacht and appears to float above the center tunnel. The control unit for the climate control system and the three cylindrical rotary dials of the optional automatic climate control system are another optical and haptic highlight on board the A1. The instrument panel is also home to the head unit for the radio or the optional MMI control and infotainment system. The display, which is standard with the concert radio or higher, is retracted into the instrument panel and extends upward at the push of a button. This installation position, ideal for quick reading, is a unique selling point in this vehicle class.
The instrument cluster in chronographic design with the large round dials – black faces, red needles, and white scales and numbers – is laid out clearly and elegantly. As always with Audi, operation via the steering column stalks is logical and ergonomically perfect. At night the instruments are lit in white, the buttons red.
With the LED interior lighting package, the A1 brings 100 percent LED technology to an interior in the premium compact class for the first time. Not only is the ambient lighting in the doors and roof module realized with LED technology, so, too, are the interior lights, reading lights, footwell lights and makeup lights. Another design highlight was created with the help of LED light guide technology. If desired, a white corona shines indirectly from the contours of the Bose woofer bezel to visually underscore the high-tech character of the sound system.
The optional driver information system integrates a display between the instruments. As in the large Audi models, the system can be controlled using buttons, rocker switches and roller switches in the optional multifunction steering wheel.
The system bundles information from the audio sources and the optional navigation system. A modern tabs concept in the display and a freely- programmable favorites button make operation easy and intuitive. The driver information system is monochrome and comes standard with MMI navigation plus.
Helpful: the on-board computer with efficiency program
The on-board computer with efficiency program is linked to the driver information system. It displays data relevant to fuel consumption and gives recommendations for efficient driving. An enlarged view of the gear-change indicator signals to the driver when he or she should change gears. Another function provides information on which on-board consumers, such as the climate control system or the rear window defogger, are active and how much fuel they are consuming.
The seats in the A1 offer great hold, guidance and support and seat persons of all sizes extremely comfortably. A height-adjustable driver’s seat is standard. The Ambition trim line includes sport seats with lumbar support, and the passenger seat also comes height-adjustable as standard. The easy-entry function for comfortable access to the back is also standard with the Ambition package.
Plenty of storage is available at every seat – two cup holders on the console of the center tunnel, pockets in the doors and the rear side trim as well as a power outlet. On the base model, there is a fold-up compartment on the instrument panel instead of the on-board monitor. Audi also offers an optional storage package with additional stowage options.
The premium character of the Audi A1 is expressed in every last detail of the interior – in the selection of the materials, in their fit and finish and in the tight, even gaps. The surface of the instrument panel is softly backed with foam; all buttons and controls move precisely; even the pull handle that unlatches the hood release does so crisply and precisely.
Standard with the Ambition trim line and optional with Attraction are numerous aluminum-look control elements, including the entry strips, the dials for the automatic climate control system and the light dials. Furthermore, the ring of the three-spoke sport steering wheel, the parking brake handle and the gear shift lever are wrapped in leather and adorned with subtle aluminum clips.
Youthful and new: colors and materials
The materials in the interior vary between the two lines. Attraction features black or titanium gray cloth upholstery with the center console, armrest, map pocket and speaker grills also being titanium gray. The sport seats in the Ambition line have a two-color design featuring titanium gray or wasabi green as a contrasting color to black. The interior is also available in black. The media style package offers velvet beige as an alternative. The optional leather seats available with the Ambition line and the media style package are offered in a choice of three colors and three combinations.
Everything about colors and trim is novel, youthful and lifestyle-oriented. The air nozzle housings are available in a wide range of colors – with matt or high-gloss black standard depending on the trim line. They are also optionally available in high-gloss white, titanium gray, wasabi green, red or velvet beige to match the color of the trim. Audi also offers a range of attractive colors for the door armrests and the console on the center tunnel for all trim lines.
The luggage compartment of the Audi A1 has plane walls; the loading edge is low for easy loading and unloading. It has a base volume of 267 liters (9.43 cubic feet). A double cargo floor is standard.
The split rear seat can be folded down quickly and easily to increase luggage capacity to roughly 920 liters (32.49 cubic feet) if loaded to the roof. Two small latches secure the cargo floor when it is folded up. Audi also offers an optional luggage compartment package with practical storage boxes under the cargo floor, a multi-fixing point with folding hooks, a stretch net, a power outlet, a second light and a strap retainer.
Audi does not compromise quality in the luggage compartment, either. The latch unlocks electronically, including via the remote key fob. It swings up and falls securely into the latch. Its clasp has a separate spring-loaded cover that keeps it from getting dirty – another typical Audi detail.
The A1 is a premium automobile for modern people – it offers a range of state-of- the-art infotainment and multimedia systems directly from the luxury class.
The infotainment system comprises modular components based around the standard chorus radio, which has an mp3-capable CD drive and GALA speed- dependent volume control. The chorus radio delivers its sound to four loudspeakers.
The next step up features the new concert radio, a versatile device that is likewise equipped with a CD drive. The separate, retractable on-board monitor – a high-resolution, 6.5 inch color display – is standard with this radio. It also features a dual tuner, an SDHC memory card reader, an AUX-in connection and six loudspeakers front and rear.
The concert radio also unlocks the choice of the optional connectivity package, which includes a navigation system preparation. This allows the customer to add an Audi map-based navigation unit to the radio at a later time. The required hardware is already installed in the radio. The customer can purchase the system activation and an SDHC card with the navigation data through Audi Genuine Accessories at any time. Activation is performed by the Audi dealer. The connectivity package also includes a Bluetooth interface, an SDHC card reader and the Audi music interface.
The top of the line is MMI navigation plus, a high-end media center that is a benchmark in the compact vehicle class. It comprises four primary components – the main unit with a 60 gigabyte hard drive, the radio unit, the MMI control terminal and the color display. The retractable 6.5 inch display features elegant images. It displays its graphics as well as the cover art for the audio titles. The navigation map is also displayed in 3D.
MMI navigation plus can store 20 gigabytes of music files. It offers a Bluetooth interface and the Audi music interface (AMI) to connect modern mobile media players very easily and conveniently. It includes a drive for audio and video DVDs and intelligent voice control – the driver can speak the complete navigation address at once. The driver information system is also integrated into the package.
Classic Audi logic: the MMI control terminal
With its intuitive logic, the MMI control terminal is structured similarly to the units from the large Audi models. A large rotary pushbutton is at the center of the unit. It can be rocked in four directions like a joystick, which makes many functions even more convenient. A variety of hard and soft keys, a volume control, and slots for the storage media are arranged around and above the central controller.
Audi offers a range of additional modules for the MMI navigation plus and the concert radio – a Bluetooth interface for convenient telephony and transferring music and video, a CD changer, a digital radio (DAB) tuner and two premium sound systems: the 180 watt Audi sound system with ten speakers and the Bose surround sound system. The latter includes a ten-channel, 465 watt amplifier and 14 speakers, including a subwoofer. The combination of MMI navigation plus and the Bose surround sound system enables the reproduction of 5.1 surround sound. A special optical highlight: The woofers in the doors are indirectly lit with light guide LEDs.
(performance data are provisional figures)
Audi will initially offer the A1 with four engines. The two TFSI gasoline engines and the two TDI diesels cover a power range from 63 kW (86 hp) to 90 kW (122 hp). Each of them is state-of-the-art.
All of the engines employ direct fuel injection and turbocharging. This downsizing concept coupled with technologies from the Audi modular efficiency platform give them tremendous power with minimal fuel consumption ranging from 3.8 to 5.4 liters per 100 km (43.56 – 61.90 US mpg).
The entry-level gasoline engine is the new 1.2 TFSI. It generates 63 kW (86 hp) and produces its peak torque of 160 Nm (118.01 lb-ft) already between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm. Coupled with a five-speed manual transmission, the four-cylinder accelerates the A1 from 0 to 100 km/h (0 – 62.14 mph) in 12.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 179 km/h (111.23 mph). In the EU driving cycle, it consumes only 5.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (46.12 US mpg), which corresponds to only 119 grams of CO2/km (191.51 g/mile).
Downsizing from Audi: turbocharging instead of displacement
The newly developed four-cylinder exemplifies the Audi philosophy of downsizing, the substitution of turbocharging for volume. The engine with two- valves per cylinder displaces only 1,197 cc and has been rigorously optimized for low weight and low friction. Its cast aluminum crankcase has its own cooling loop separate from the cylinder head. The water in the block is not circulated immediately after the engine is started, enabling the engine to come up to temperature more quickly and shortening the phase of increase frictional resistance due to cold oil.
The 1.4 TFSI ups the ante with 90 kW (122 hp). Its peak torque of 200 Nm (147.51 lb-ft) is continuously available between 1,500 and 4,000 rpm. A turbocharger with a water-cooled intercooler pressurizes the 1,390 cc engine with four valves per cylinder.
Together with the seven-speed S tronic, the 1.4 TFSI gets the A1 up to highway speed in 9.1 seconds. Top speed is 200 km/h (124.27 mph). The standard six- speed manual transmission bumps the time for the sprint to 9.2 seconds, but does not affect top speed. Average fuel consumption is just 5.1 and 5.4 liters/ 100 km (43.56 and 46.12 US mpg), respectively, in the EU test cycle.
The power output of the new 1.6 TDI comes from a displacement of 1,598 cc. Internal friction in the compact four-cylinder has been systematically minimized. Audi offers two versions of this engine. The more powerful 1.6 TDI unit produces 77 kW (105 hp) and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm, and is coupled with a five-speed manual transmission. The 16-valve engine accelerates the A1 powerfully through the standard sprint in 10.8 seconds before reaching a top speed of 187 km/h (116.20 mph) while consuming an average of just 3.9 liters/100 km (60.31 US mpg).
The second version of the 1.6 TDI generates 66 kW (90 hp) and 230 Nm (169.64 lb-ft) of torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. Coupled with the five- speed manual transmission, it accelerates the A1 from 0 to 100 km/h (0 – 62.14 mph) in 12.2 seconds. Its reaches a top speed of 179 km/h (111.23 mph) and offers exemplary fuel economy of 3.8 liters/100 km (61.90 US mpg), which corresponds to 99 grams of CO2/km (159.33 g/mile).
All four engines in the A1 use a technology from the Audi modular efficiency platform – the recuperation system uses an intelligent voltage controller for the generator to recover energy during the braking and coasting phases and store it temporarily in the battery. The next time the car accelerates, this energy flows back into the on-board electrical system, relieving the load on the generator.
The four engines also come standard with a second technology from the Audi modular efficiency platform – the start-stop system. This turns the engine off when the car is at rest, if the gear selector lever is in neutral and the driver’s foot has left the clutch pedal. Start-stop then turns the engine back on as soon as the clutch pedal is depressed — all the while functioning quietly, conveniently, and quickly.
The start-stop system also harmonizes perfectly with the seven-speed S tronic, the high-tech transmission with which the A1 underscores its exceptionally sporty position. The Audi dual-clutch transmission combines the convenience of a torque converter transmission with the dynamics and efficiency of a manual transmission. It changes gears within a few hundredths of a second without any perceptible interruption of pulling power, smoothly and very comfortably.
Weighing only around 70 kilograms (154.32 lb), the seven-speed S tronic also helps to save weight. Its two clutches run dry – the elimination of the oil supply further increases the already high efficiency of the transmission. Power is supplied to the electrohydraulic actuator as needed.
The driver can operate the seven-speed S tronic via a selector lever or optional paddles on the steering wheel, as in a sports car. There are also two fully automatic operating modes available. In D mode, the transmission management system operates the engine as often as possible at low speeds to save fuel; in S mode, the driving style is sporty and the engine speeds higher. A hill start assist that holds the A1 when starting on a hill is standard.
The front-wheel-drive Audi A1 is the sportiest car in the compact class. It is nimble and agile in the city; steady and precise on interurban roads, and comfortable on the highway. It owes these qualities primarily to the highly advanced chassis with the wide track and balanced weight distribution.
The engineers devoted a great deal of attention to the distribution of axle loads during the development of the A1. Measuring only 81 centimeters (31.89 inches), the front overhang is unusually short. Depending on the engine, only between 61 and 63 percent of the weight rests on the front axle, a low value for a compact car. A number of details contribute to this, such as the position of the battery, which with most engine options is underneath the luggage compartment. With a base weight of only 1,045 kilograms (2,303.83 lb), the A1 is the lightest vehicle in the premium compact class.
The front suspension comprises a MacPherson construction with lower triangular wishbones. The steering impulse from the electrohydraulic rack-and-pinion power steering, which is more efficient than a straight hydraulic system, is transferred via short paths to the pivot bearing for spontaneous steering response and precise, sensitive feedback through the steering wheel.
Direct: the power steering
At a ratio of 14.8:1, the steering is sportily direct, requiring only slight steering angles at the wheel. The high turn-in of the front wheels keeps the turning circle to 10.6 meters (34.78 feet) – both factors give the A1 the ultimate in agility in city traffic as well as on open roads.
Audi painstakingly tuned the front axle bearings, the stabilizer bar and the springs and dampers for sporty and balanced handling. A torsion-beam rear axle with separate springs and dampers features new guide bearings that were developed from the ground up. The Ambition trim line comes standard with a sport suspension featuring taut springs and dampers.
The A1 comes equipped with a new Audi technology regardless of the engine selected – the ESP stabilization system also includes an electronic differential lock. Similar to a mechanical locking differential, it makes the already agile handling even more neutral by largely eliminating understeer and improving traction. If the electronics detect that the load on the front inside wheel is reduced too much, it initiates brief, controlled braking of that wheel. The excess torque then flows to the outside wheel, which can apply more power to the road. Road behavior is even more precise, agile, stable and neutral, further enhancing objective safety and subjective confidence in the car.
With its sport modus, the ESP A1 is custom-tailored for agile driving. The stabilization system controls large, powerful wheel brakes. The front discs are internally ventilated and measure between 256 and 288 millimeters (10.08 and 11.34 inches) in diameter, depending on the engine. The rear wheels are equipped with powerful disc brakes. The Attraction trim line features 15-inch wheels; Ambition comes with 16-inch alloy wheels.
Audi offers optional 17-inch cast aluminum wheels, with some designs featuring modern bicolor designs, and wide-format 215/40 tires. quattro GmbH offers 18-inch cast aluminum wheels and wide-format 225/35 tires.
High performance: the wheel brakes
The sporty performance, top-class safety and comfort required in the premium compact class place high demands on the brakes. The brake system of the Audi A1 was selected specifically for the performance of the different variants.
Even the models with the entry level engines should therefore have plenty of braking power in reserve. Every vehicle comes equipped with ventilated disc brakes up front and massive brake discs in the rear.
Sport steering wheel
In keeping with the vehicle’s sporty character, the A1 comes standard with a grippy three-spoke sport steering wheel that can be optionally wrapped in fine Nappa leather and trimmed with high-quality chrome-design elements.
A particular highlight is the new operating concept of the optional multifunction switch, which enables the convenient operation of the on-board computer, telephone, audio source and navigation system directly from the steering wheel. Shift paddles that enable fast manual gear changes are optionally available in combination with an S tronic transmission.
Equipment and trim
Audi offers the A1 in two trim levels. Attraction is the richly appointed charismatic version; Ambition the sporty and dynamic variant. Both lines can be combined with the media style package, which offers attractive infotainment and interior design options. Features such as the navigation package can also be purchased later, keeping the A1 fresh and attractive for years to come. The latest member of the Audi family also follows a fresh, young line with respect to materials and colors in the interior.
The Attraction line comes equipped with a number of comfortable features – the chorus radio, a radio remote-controlled central locking system, power-adjustable side mirrors, power windows and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. Standard passive safety features include two front airbags, side airbags and head airbags. Belt force limiters, the integral Audi headrest system and Isofix anchor points for child safety seats in the rear round out the program.
The Ambition trim line can be identified at a glance – giving it away are the 16-inch alloy wheels and the fog lights. The interior of the A1 Ambition features aluminum-look touches, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and the driver information system. Its sport seats feature an easy-entry function and lumbar supports, and the passenger seat is also height-adjustable.
Optionally available for the Ambition trim line is the S line sport package, which includes, but is not limited to, the following: 17- or 18-inch cast aluminum wheels, S line sport suspension with dynamic suspension tuning, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and sport seats.
Much of the optional equipment that Audi has designated for the A1 comes directly from the luxury class. These include exterior options such as the xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, the LED tail lights and the optional 17-inch wheels with 215/40 tires. quattro GmbH offers 18-inch cast aluminum wheels.
Audi has also devoted a great deal of attention to the aspect of light and vision. The high-beam assistant uses a camera to detect other vehicles and towns and automatically switch between the low and high beams. It is combined with a light and rain sensor, which is also available separately. The panorama sunroof brings light and air into the interior. The convenience key can stay in the jacket pocket – the A1 unlocks when the driver pulls the door handles and starts at the push of the start-stop button.
Additional options include the alarm system, the LED interior lighting package, the heated and folding side mirrors, the cruise control system, the ski bag, the front center arm rest, the storage and luggage compartment package, the heated front seats, the climate control system, the automatic climate control system and a multifunction, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. Audi also offers a parking aid in two variants and a wide array of infotainment modules from which to choose. It starts with the concert radio and extends through the retrofit-capable navigation package to the high-performance MMI navigation plus system and the Bose surround sound system with innovative light guide technology.
The S line exterior package gives the A1 an even more dynamic appearance thanks to such details as chiseled sill tops and a large roof spoiler.
The A1 offers the young, urban public a new lifestyle-oriented concept for colors and materials. If so desired, components such as the seat covers, the air nozzle housings and the inlays in the doors shine in fresh, expressive colors. In addition to the individual options, quattro GmbH also offers numerous packages, such as the S line sport package, the Audi exclusive line or the black styling package. The Audi exclusive customization program offers the customer even more styling options – for both the interior and the exterior.