Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Striking the Right Balance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Striking the Right Balance

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian Johnson

STRIKING a balance when designing a small car with premium qualities is never easy. Few brands have got it completely right, but Audi has come closer to the correct formula than most with its new A1.

Firstly, do not think that the latest A1 is a revamp of the rather quirky model which previously bore the A2 designation because it is completely new. Audi set out to produce what might be termed a city car with all the trappings of a larger premium hatchback with the technological sophistication and quality that is forever Audi.

Although the styling is somewhat understated, there is an edginess to it that attracts second glances, defining it as something quite special. This is quite intentional, as it is hoped that the A1 will be a magnet to attract a new target audience - customers who will be completely new to the brand.

And don't think it is cheap, because it is not. Audi does not do cheap and if you want one of these pocket image-makers, you will have to shell out between pounds 13,420 to pounds 20,705.

But for this money there really are no half measures. Features found as standard on every A1 sold in the UK include alloy wheels, remote central locking, air conditioning, electric front windows and mirrors and an eight-speaker single CD audio system with auxiliary iPod connection linked to a 6.5-inch retractable display.

On the technical front, standard features include engine stop/start and energy recuperation along with ESP and the latest differential lock system.

There are four engine options - three petrol and one diesel - and three equipment levels.

A 122ps version of the 1.4 TFSI petrol engine was the power unit of my test car, which was a Sport model equipped with the optional seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission.

When equipped with S tronic, the Sport version takes the A1 to 62mph in 8.9 seconds, and on to 126mph where conditions allow, and in this form delivers up to 54. …

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