It appears the fearsome premium brand battle ground is shifting to the smaller end of the markets, with leaked images of Audi’s new A1 baby showing a significant step up in style and substance.
Just as Mercedes-Benz upped its small car game with the resoundingly grown-up A-Class and Volvo put a similar vote of confidence in the small segments introducing its accomplished XC40 small SUV, Audi is following suit with a new A1 that is packed with tech and style.
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The leaked images which first surfaced on Belgian site autotijd.nl, reveal a matured and more aggressive looking A1, gaining an broader grille topped by a three-slot vent and large surrounding air channels not unlike something from the RS family.
Strong angular styling continues along the more muscular flanks to the rear end where the design evolves the A1 boot from jelly mould to serious hatch, while tail lights appear to be in keeping with the range-wide move to LED.
Only two variants are shown with the 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI indicating Audi’s move to standardised nomenclature for all sub-S and RS models, although more are expected to progressively join the range. That said, the fate of A1 diesel power is still to be decided.
On the inside the A1 continues to grow up. Also in keeping with a general range-wide evolution, the A1 (at least in higher grade versions) has gained the proliferating Virtual Cockpit fully digital instrument cluster.
There’s also a large central touchscreen for accessing information and entertainment with the latest version of Audi’s MMI system. Expect a youth market focused level of connectivity including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a bare minimum.
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The versions shown are at the higher end of specification in the company’s S-Line trim, sporting large wheels and fatter bumpers, and less plush and generously equipped versions are likely to arrive at launch.
Other highlights include a wide range of cabin customisations including bronze and pearl yellow trims, high-grade leather upholstery, keyless start, dual zone climate control, and the availability of both manual and auto transmissions.
Sensors in the windscreen and grille also suggest the A1 will be offered for the first time with AEB and possibly adaptive cruise control.
Interestingly, the A1 remains equipped with a mechanical handbrake lever, bucking the trend to adopt an electric park brake.
An Australian debut is yet to be confirmed along with the complete variant and engine set but the littlest Audi will come Down Under at a point after its public reveal – officially this time – at the Paris motor show which kicks off on October 4.