Given that the A1 is supposed to be the more premium of the pair, insiders insist it will have optional mechanical equipment the class has never seen, including adaptive damping, stronger gearboxes and new engines.
Both the Polo and the A1 will be built on the same production line at Seat’s Spanish plant at Martorell, near Barcelona, with the Audi scoring a near full width single frame grille to make it easily distinguished from its cheaper sibling.
While moving to MQB seems expensive, it’s a short-cut to electrification for the A1, allowing easy access to mild-hybrid power systems and plug-in hybrid powertrains, too, though the Polo has shied away from both systems.
It will score the latest versions of Audi’s fully digital Virtual Cockpit, which includes a larger screen and the option of a touchscreen for the infotainment unit on the dashboard.
It’s a lock to suggest the car will have Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink and Android Auto, especially given the younger audience it’s targeting, while it will also use 4G LTE and WLANp for car-to-infrastructure and car-to-car communications.
The engine choices will reflect what the Polo has, with a bit more power. The entry level will be a new version of the 1.0l, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor, while the new 1.5l turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine boots the old 1.4 engine out from beneath the bonnet.
There’s already a new Polo GTi (in SA, May 2018), so Audi has committed to a faster S1 with a 2.0l turbocharged four with about 230kW of power. It will be all-wheel drive, a grip-chasing idea that Audi will at last sprinkle through other engines in the range — at a cost.
The car entered conceptual planning with ideas for a range of diesel engines and moved towards pre-production with just one, the same 1.6 turbodiesel it had before. Volkswagen’s head of development said before that it would not invest in developing any all-new small diesel engines, so this makes sense.
Manual gearboxes will be the standard equipment, though seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions will be options.