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Audi A1 facelift revealed

New three-cylinder engines debut as well as a subtle facelift, the latest tech and chassis tweaks

Audi has given its compact A1 range a mild visual makeover and introduced two three-cylinder engines for the first time.

With MINI introducing a raft of new three- and five-door versions of its hatch, the time has come for Audi to keep its small premium offering looking fresh. But with 500,000 sales under the car’s belt since its launch four years ago, the changes are unsurprisingly small.

The exterior look has received a small nip and tuck to keep the A1 in keeping with younger models in the Audi line-up. The front end has been subtly re-worked and features a six-corner single frame grille, a sharper looking front bumper and snazzier headlamps.

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The A1 and A1 Sportback’s side profile now looks a bit different too thanks to revised door sills, while to the rear, new taillights and a rear bumper in keeping with the front also feature. The changes result in both models’ dimensions growing by two centimetres, but just as before, the “roof arch” can be ordered in a contrasting colour to the body’s paintwork.   

Audi has added two new trims – design and sport – including a plethora of customisation options. The infotainment system has been mildly upgraded too and now features a wi-fi hotspot, Bose surround sound system and Audi Connect – the firm’s extensive range of internet services.

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But the changes are more than skin deep. Just like the recently revised Volkswagen Polo, two new turbocharged three-cylinder engines make their appearance in the A1 range – a 95bhp 1.0-litre petrol and a 90bhp 1.4-litre diesel. The new petrol will start at £14,315 when it is available to order in Spring 2015, which is £200 more than the 1.2 TFSI model it replaces.

The petrol offers 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km while the diesel delivers 83.1mpg and 89gkm of CO2. In fact, the A1 is the first Audi to ever be powered by a three-pot petrol engine.

The new three-cylinder units will be joined by 123bhp and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol units – the higher-powered version will have cylinder on demand technology ­– a 114bhp 1.6-litre diesel and a 1.8-litre petrol with 189bhp.

The racy 231bhp S1 and S1 Sportback will continue to be offered with their performance CO2 and MPG figures remaining the same.

Audi’s engineers have spent time working on the chassis to make the A1 and A1 Sportback more of a challenger to the excellent Mini. The cars can now come with adaptive damping and a new electromechanical power steering system.

The updated A1 range goes on sale later this month, priced between £200 and £400 more than the current range, depending on engines and trim level. The five-door Sportback commands a £620 premium, while the S1 hot hatch is £25,380.

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