Importable or Impotable? Audi Debuts A1 Citycarver for Slick Urban Youths

importable or impotable audi debuts a1 citycarver for slick urban youths

Padding out its crossover lineup and going downmarket, like every other premium automaker, Audi presented us with a new model this week — the A1 Citycarver. Based upon the A1 Sportback, the Citycarver is lifted two-inches to provide additional clearance for potholes, urban debris, and the occasional instance of curb hopping. The ride hight also helps the brand’s A1 line take advantage of the severe case of crossover crazies that has swept through the global market.

Good on Audi for downplaying the adventure/lifestyle marketing and calling the Citycarver what it is — a small urban runabout with the ability to leave town. Bonus points for allowing it to maintain its foundation’s above-average looks.

That said, the marketing team couldn’t help itself entirely. The vehicle’s release is still tinged with mentions of the exterior’s “robust, off-road look,” despite it being nearly identical to the Sportback. But Audi knows it’s marketing to young, urban types and went so far as to put that in the headline of its press release.

And the city will be where this car shines the brightest. At just a hair under 160 inches in length, the higher-riding A1 is a smidgen shorter than the Ford Fiesta. One of its greatest selling points will obviously be saving people the trouble of having to circle the block for the tenth time, as they hunt for an appropriately sized parking space inside the overly congested hellscape they call home.

Noteworthy changes from the more-traditional A1 models include larger wheels (both optional and standard), visual tweaks to make it look more like Audi’s Q vehicles, an S line roof edge spoiler, and an optional dynamic suspension package (which adds a dynamic handling system, upgraded audio gear, adjustable dampers, and chucks on red calipers for style). The rest of Audi’s ink was spent discussing the merits of the 10.1-inch infotainment system — namely its ability to tell you where to find parking.

Powertrain details were a no-show. But, since it’s basically an A1 Sportback, one might expect it to come equipped with the same 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged three-cylinder motor and front-wheel drive. While that 40 TFSI is likely too small for most American tastes, it does produce a very adequate 200 hp. The only other possible candidate for export would be the 1.5-liter 35 TFSI. The rest of the A1’s engine options are best left in Europe due to their size… or lack thereof.

Unfortunately, they all might stay there, as Audi has only mentioned availability in its home market (starting this fall). However, if the company did decide to export a small vehicle to North America, this would definitely be the one. While this author would rather have the standard A1 Sportback, crossovers remain ludicrously popular here and this isn’t a bad-looking compromise. The U.S. might swing toward larger automobiles than Europe but we could see the Citycarver making a name for itself along more North America’s more populated coastal regions.

What say you, Best and Brightest?

[Images: Audi]

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  • Darex Darex on Jul 30, 2019

    If they didn't bring the Q2 over, which is baffling and stupid, I don't see them ever bringing this over.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Jul 30, 2019

    3/8 Rav4 up front with the "aggressive" something something and a VW UP! at the back. I dare say this is an Audi non-SUV that I'm not a fan of; not that I'd choose to try and afford one anyway. Where are these youths being targeted supposed to get the money to plunk down? Selling hookers and blow?

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?