Last Friday I spent a lot of time with the car and literally went over every last inch of the car, pushed every button, sat in every seat and generally tested the build quality to the max! Over the years, I have seen lots of new models arrive and they all have their good points, are all impressive and all build desire. This one is different though, it builds a different kind of feeling... a feeling of pride!
The car arrived early so that we could get it in our handover room before any customers arrived on site. At a glance the car looks, as you would expect, very stylish and much better in the flesh. The only bit I wasn't sure about was the recess below the rear window, but after spending 2 hours with the car - that no longer worried me. It really is remarkable how quickly the car grows on you. I'm not normally a fan of small cars, but lately the concept has been growing on me. I just cannot believe how much useable space can be created in a car that small! I touched on this in a previous blog but just to recap; the total load space in the A1 with the back seats folded down is a massive 920 litres. That also happens to be the figure quoted for a Vauxhall Meriva MPV with the rear seats down!
Here is a link to the pictures – I took many more as well, so if there is something in particular that you want to see just let me know. They are all high-res and so you can download and zoom right in.http://www.pooleaudi.com/images/cars/a1/
I should explain first that this car is a little special – there are only 15 complete cars in the world, this one has been used for vibration testing and has had a machine opening and closing the doors thousands of times, therefore it had a few dents on the bottom of the seals (from the machine) and the speaker grills had to be replaced with better quality ones. This has been passed onto production who will correct this for final production cars. There are only two cars in the UK at the moment, I think this was the same car as What Car? used last week. It is also one of the cars that will be on display at Goodwood in July. The spec was a Sport with a few S-Line touches – it was not final production and so had some funny option combinations.
Headlights – Very distinctive design. Way more impressive in the flesh and actually better looking than the R8 LEDs. When you get up close you can see that it is still lots of little individual LED ligts but they have used 3 lens to spread the light into this distinctive shape.
Air-vents – A real highlight of the car for me. Often with build quality, it is the attention to detail that counts. These air vents are not only customisable at time of order, but the quality of the adjustment is amazing! The control feels like it runs on ball bearing, it is so smooth and fluid. If you have any doubts about the build-quality of the car, play with the air-vents.
Seats – the car I had here had the Media Style package and so the seats were of a similar design to the Audi Exclusive Line trim in other cars. They felt comfortable and the lumbar support (although manual) was sufficient. Stitching was all parallel.
Extended leather – Our car was a bit different – you might be able to see from the pictures, but instead of having the extended leather on the doors it had some kind of perforated rubber – no doubt the finished product will therefore be even more impressive.
Attention to detail – Little hooks in the boot and rear of the car to hang shopping bags on, metal eyelets in the boot to tie loads down, elastic attachment in the boot to help secure loads, etc. There is a little 12v socket hidden in the boot and one in the front too – both equally well concealed. Two little bolt holes are present in the door shut in the roof line so that roof bars can be fitted easily. BOSE sound system, if fitted with interior LED lighting package, has a ring of light around it – very nice!
Safety – I cannot believe that some manufacturers still charge extra for safety – not the Audi A1. The car is so safe, I am sure that you have all read the brochure and so know about the airbags and side impact, etc. There are also extras that Audi didn’t have to do, but did all the same. For instance, there are the extra lights on the back of the car for when the tailgate is lifted up – a great touch and no doubt this will be added to other Audis.
Spare tyre – none to mention, air compressor in place. The spare wheel is available as a dealer-fit option. The added weight would have pushed it over the CO2 threshold.
Interior – Lots of cubby-holes in the rear of the car and more hooks for shopping bags. The screen looks great and is easily readable, even in these photos where my flash is taking some of the contrast away! The re-designed indicator stalks are very nice.
Rear space – I am 5’ 10”, my fiancé is 5’ 6” and I have a 4 year old and so for me the car is actually perfectly fine. I was also able to sit in the front, get into my driving position and then sit behind the drivers seat. Our accountant, who is a bit taller than me, tried the same and his thoughts are that it was fine for every now and then, but he wouldn’t want to be in there for too long – coming back to the head touching the roof thing.
However, all-in-all I am so impressed! If you were to remove badges, etc and blind-fold somebody, put them in the driver’s seat of the A1, they would genuinely think it was a car from the same sector as the A4, not the mini! The build quality, especially the interior is leagues ahead of anything that I have seen in a car of this size/price. Technology has been taken straight out of the new Audi flagship, the Audi A8 and so some of the little touches are incredible. The voice control system (with the Tech pack high) actually works and recognises complete addresses, not just letter, by letter. The mapping is superb and uses complete 7 digit postcodes – previous Audi owners will know what I mean by this! I cannot believe that I am so excited by a small hatchback, but I am!
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Hope this helps