The Audi A1 is a supermini with the interior quality and technology of a luxury sedan.
The Audi A1 is a stylish and trendy entry into the growing niche of upmarket super-minis, a segment that was invented by the MINI Hatch and joined by the Citroen DS3.
These cars are the perfect fit for high flyers who live in the city, or simply don’t want a big car, yet still crave luxury and the latest technology.
There’s a choice of a three-door model or five-door version called the Audi A1 Sportback, a more practical choice should you have children.
If you need to get from A to B economically, or like a car which can accelerate from 0-1100 kmh in just 5.8 seconds, the A1 could be the choice for you. The petrol engine range features 1.2- and 1.4-litre litre engines, while those seeking lower running costs can choose from 1.4– or 2.0-litre diesels.
The quickest version is the Audi S1 Quattro, which pulls off the impressive feat of fitting four-wheel drive and a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine under its diminutive frame. There’s a number of different trims to choose from and a wide range of options to customise your A1.
The Audi A1 triumphs as a small car which feels big from inside, and makes an excellent cruiser.
It is said that it is impressively cheap to run.
The A1’s small size and Audi’s efficient engines lend themselves to providing great economy and the 1.6-litre TDI is best of the bunch, recording 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km, of CO2 emissions, making it free to tax. It’s not a class-leading performance though, being beaten by both the DS3 and all-new MINI Hatch, which can manage 78.5 and 83.1mpg respectively.
Despite its extra size, the 2.0-litre diesel doesn’t disgrace itself: it’s capable of 68.9mpg and 108g/km of CO2.
Petrol engines are well-suited to the A1, improving refinement compared with the slightly noisy diesels. The 85bhp 1.2-litre TFSI engine manages 55.4mpg, which is a respectable figure, but can’t match the 61.4mpg of the 102bhp MINI One.
Three version of the 1.4-litre engine are available. The entry-level version with 121bhp is fractionally more expensive to run than the 1.2 with 53.3mpg and emissions of 126g/km. The same engine fitted with technology that turns off half of the engine when it’s not needed to save fuel sees power and running costs improved. Here the car returns 60.1mpg and has CO2 emissions of 109g/km for a Impressively, even the powerful 182bhp 1.4-litre TFSI S line returns 47.9mpg and 139g/km of CO2, which is not bad for a 141mph hatchback.
The A1’s interior is only rivalled by the latest MINI for quality in the ‘super-mini’ class. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake and the driver’s seat for height, so it’s easy to get comfortable.
You can customise almost every aspect of the interior, choosing the seats, steering wheel, upholstery and colours you desire to achieve the sporty or luxurious A1 of your dreams.
Forward and rear visibility is good, but you’ll need to beware the over-the-shoulder blind spot caused by the thick door pillar just behind your head.
Bigger boot than the MINI, and Sportback has two more doors
With three doors getting in and out of the back seats is awkward, but the two rear seats have more space than the MINI, with better legroom, while headroom is restricted by the curvy roof. The boot measures 270-litres, which is usefully bigger than the MINI’s 211-litre boot, and just behind the DS3’s 285 litres.
The rear seats can split, but don’t fold completely flat, increasing possible luggage space to 920 litres.
The boot hatch opens to give reasonably wide access, however the large rear bumper makes the loading lip fairly high to lift items over.