Audi's smallest car is no longer its softest-looking, because the second-gen hatch has been given an injection of muscle

Audi's new A1 ditches the soft, curvy exterior of its predecessor for a harder, more sporting appearance — which might come as a surprise, given that the old car proved immensely popular, particularly with younger buyers.

To find out what the motivation for this major appearance shift was, we speak to the man who has headed the design teams for both the first and second-generation A1s, Jürgen Löffler.

What was the design brief?

“We wanted the new A1 to be the sportiest car in its class. You could say we sent the new A1 to the gym, because the outgoing car looks a little bit round in comparison. The new platform’s proportions have helped this a lot. It’s become lower, wider, longer, with shorter overhangs. So the base was already much better proportionally.”

Given its popularity with female buyers, was this designed to appeal more to men?

“I don’t think so. The new A1’s design is more grown-up and sportier; and that fits for both men and women.”

Why has the A1 received more Quattro features than its siblings?

“It was always like we’re creating a small rally car appearance. I think that the essence of Audi is in the Sport Quattro, and I think it fits quite well with the A1. It’s a small car with the wheels pushed out to the corners, so it works with the Sport Quattro’s muscular shoulders. You could say it naturally fitted to this car.”

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The Audi A1 is a stylish and competent supermini, if a little expensive - but does it have the edge over the Mini hatch, Seat Ibiza and Ford Fiesta?

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Comments
7

18 June 2018

 If you get the color right and the spec inside it’s a good buy, not the best, but image to some is everything.....

18 June 2018

... more like a sportswear store, and it just bought everything in the store and is wearing it all at the same time. It's a LOT.

 

Hopefully the regular ( Non S-Line ) version looks better.

19 June 2018

Hardly. A BMW Mini competitor? You betcha.

19 June 2018

They need to work out how to close the bonnet of that yellow Fabia.

19 June 2018

I'm not sure which is the biggest insult being mistaken for a Fabia or bonnet close line

19 June 2018

I wonder if an Audi RS1 will happen, considering there are rumours of a Polo R incoming.

23 July 2018

I have a 2014 A1 Sportback, it's a good car, I enjoy driving it, however I want to replace it with an EV or a hybrid, I find it quite disappoingting that Audi are not going to offer either of these option on the new A1, which means I will probably have to look elsewhere. 

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