WORDS Kathy Catton PHOTOS Kallum Harris
Sometimes everything just falls into place. With a mission to find a new scooter and the newly arrived Audi A1 on the drive, I was ticking two boxes in one. My mission: to see what a compact Audi really feels like to drive in and around the streets of Christchurch. My 8-year-old son’s mission: to find and buy a new scooter for whizzing to and from school on.
The “supermini” Audi is anything but mini. This is the second-generation of the compact model, and lucky for us Cantabrians, it has just arrived at Archibalds. And arrived with impact. The new bold and sporty colour range (ten in total) is a sight to behold. I drove a ‘turbo blue’ – a blue on steroids, some might say. Other colours include ‘Misano red’, ‘glacier white’, ‘mythos black’ and I can’t wait to see ‘python yellow’. I love these colour names. For me, they capture the essence of this car: a bit of ‘bold’, a lot of ‘wild’ and a whole bunch of ‘fun to drive’. Either way, these totally ‘on trend’ colours really make a small car stand out with pride.
Call me smitten, but there is so much to like about this Audi. It’s not too small, not too big – just right, as Goldilocks said. While it may be the entry point for the Audi range, they certainly haven’t skimped on quality. Everything has a premium and well-built feel, familiar to Audi Drivers. I felt like I was driving a sports car, with that low to the ground seating (which can be pumped up if you so desire) and digital dials, all of which are super easy to read. It’s nippy and responsive and when I did put my foot down a little on the curves of the Port Hills, I felt safely glued to the road.
The new car is slightly longer and wider than the previous model and has full-size worthy infotainment and driver assistance systems. There’s a multifunction steering wheel and a high-resolution screen with smartphone interface. It’s not just the screen but the reversing camera as well that helped me reverse into those narrow city parking spots as we zipped between scooter-selling shops. The touchscreen display has none of this ‘wedging an iPad into the dashboard’ as some car manufacturers do; this is a stylish, neatly integrated and functional screen just beautifully tilted a couple of degrees towards the driver. Everything’s been thoroughly thought through. Right down to the non-slip phone box lining, next to the gear stick.
There’s also more luggage capacity than the first generation A1, which is great when it comes to loading in scooter boxes – or Mum’s market produce from the Christchurch Farmers’ Market in Riccarton or a couple of suitcases for those trips further afield.
This is the perfect Audi for the city – it’s cool, funky, but not over the top. If you’re looking for a smaller car and want to stay ahead of the curve, but you don’t want to give up on the premium brand, I think you’ve found your match.
For my son and me it was both missions accomplished, and guess what colour scooter he chose? Turbo blue! Young and old will love this new ‘little-big’ Audi A1 with its dynamic design and solid stance on the road. With the cool colours, a great driving experience and attractive exterior, everything is brighter, more colourful, bigger, a lot smarter, and a whole lot more fun for an urban setting. The new A1 is available in three spec levels starting at a very competitive $39,400.
Archibalds would be delighted to show you the sportiest cars in the compact range.