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Youngblood with Zest – New Audi A1 Sportback S-Tronic = Launch Drive

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The first generation A1 was not a bad looking car nor was it a bad one either, in fact I was quite fond of it, I distinctly recall having a deep blue 3 door with lovely set of wheels and a lovely interior, nothing was over the top but it was flowing with elegance. Having sold 13 700 units locally, it had set a decent benchmark for its second generation. The youngblood seems to have hit all right notes on the recent media launch.

Looks

It’s distinctive design sets it apart from everything else on the road, the front end styling hues inspired and paying homage to Sport Quattro, like the slits at the beginning of the hood just above the wider bolder honey comb grille, the front bumper has a lot of detail and can be finished nicely if you so happen to choose a lovely bright colour as this car signifies youthfulness in my view. The LED head lights add a lovely touch of modernity to complete the front end. The side profile is busy in a good way, from the nice selection of wheels ranging from 15” to the 18” that dominated most launch units. A well consolidated shoulder and waist line show muscular elements within the youngblood, to the rear shark fin like pillar. The rear bumber and its LED taillights are the main highlight from this aspect. It’s a damn good looking thang especially in that S Line trim valued at R29k.

The Interior is funky yet classy as Audi standard modus operandi, its clinical with youthful inclusions like the seat fabrics, the centre console is tilted slightly to be more driver orientated, the digital cluster is a welcome touch and looks proper. The flat bottomed sports steering wheel looks and feels good, I just love how they have always simplified multi-functionality on the steering wheel controls. The gear lever looks and feels lovely. Space is decent, seating position is a gem, no units were in leather at launch, would have loved to see the finish.

Power

At the recent launch in Sandton, incidentally we were hosted at the very same venue that the Bachelor South Africa was filmed, a stunning piece of architecture with art scattered all the yard, even boasts the biggest Koi Pond I have seen in yonks. Only 2 engines were at the launch , a 1.5L with 110kw with 250nm of torque, mated to a 7 speed dual clutch S-Tronic transmission, and a more fierce 4cylinder 2.0L force-fed 147kw 320nm motor, this is mated to a 6 speed S-Tronic shifter, both are front wheel drive. A 1.0L 85kw derivative will also be available for sale. The 1.5 is frugal, and it has all the right ingredients of a rewarding daily drive without being boring, the 250nm of torque feel ample to push or cruise, the footing is great around bends and is certain enough to carry some serious velocity. While the 2.0T with similar numbers to the sister brand’s smaller Gti with 147kw and 320nm tends to offer a lot more of an invigorating experience, with an aural extension of mild pops in sports mode and a tenor like tune. Its eager alright , and has all the attachments to handle its eagerness, brakes are superb, and it changes direction well and has a decent amount of grip.  The delivery is impressive and consistent through the gearing. It’s good!

The Sportsback has been equipped with a comprehensive amount of standard specification, what Audi has done now to enhance the specification for ease of shopping through options, they have packaged options in such a way that it is easier to get the best options without braking the bank ie Comfort, Technology, Sport, Lights and S Line interior. On the Exterior you can have a standard, Advanced or the hugely popular S-Line Package.

As always this Audi A1 Spotback is also by backed by the faithful 5 year/100 000km Freeway Plan, Pricing starts from R359 900 for the 30TFsi (1.0L 85kw) entry level derivative , to R488 000 for the current top of the range 40Tfis (2.0L 147kw), my current fave the 35(1.5L 110kw) is smack dab in the middle at R429 900.  

To conclude, as the saying goes, first impressions last, this A1 has all the right spices to make it in the market especially in a segment driven by looks, status and performance, spec yours nicely and you will be happy for many moons over and above the grand entrance this good looking youngblood makes everytime it appears.

Thanks to Vicky, Tashta, Sam, Asif and Trevor for a great experience, Lunch was tops, simple yet tasteful and relaxed.

Yours in motoring

Wezile Lorenzio Bonani

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