Review Of Audi A1 - The Audi A1 was launched back in 2010 and that means that this is still the first-generation model. Now, although that is the case, it did get a facelift last year which tweaked its exterior, notably its grille and bumpers, built on its kit levels and revised its engine line-up – with the big change being the addition of a new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol. So can a car that is five years old keep up with competition from the likes of Mini? When it first launched, the A1’s interior was definitely one of the best in the supermini segment, but it’s clustered button design is starting to show its age a bit, especially when you look at new Audi’s and their very minimalistic designs. Other little details like this rotary dial which turns left for down and right for up, just need sorting out – but that might be just me. The likes of these body-coloured air surrounds and handles are a nice touch though, especially when you consider the significance of personalisation options on cars like the Mini Hatch. Every model in the A1 range comes with a pop-up 6.5-inch infotainment screen, with built-in DAB radio and an SD card reader, and there’s necessities like air-con. But go for a higher trim, something like Sport or S-Line, and it certainly starts to feel more like an Audi, with the likes of sat-nav, Bluetooth and sports seats.
Now, we're probably what you would call pint-sized, so having the drivers’ seat adjusted for me means there is actually quite a bit of legroom, sitting behind a six footer is a different story though. Head room is very cramped regardless though – but don’t forget, there is a five-door Sportback model available that makes getting in and out, much easier. The boot is also on the small size at 270 litres, which is smaller than the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta, but, bigger than the three-door Mini Hatch. You can fold these seats down as well for a bit of extra flexibility. Before I go on about the new three-cylinder, I just want to comment on the steering and the ride.
The A1 used to have hydraulic steering, and that spells out better engagement on pretty much any car, and in the A1’s case, something to help it compete with Mini. But the steering is now electric, which means it’s easier to use around town, but its weighting can be unpredictable at times and, well it just feels less engaging. The A1’s suspension still remains a little firm, but general composure on the road is brilliant, with tons of grip and pretty much no body roll at all. You will get a fair bit of road noise at motorway speeds seeping into the cabin though. Now, onto the new petrol.
The 1.0-litre turbo replaces the previously available, and rather lethargic, 1.2-litre petrol – and it joins the 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel in the range. With 94bhp and a zero to 62mph sprint time of just under 11 seconds, it’s not rapid, but it still gives the A1 plenty of character with a nice growl and low down pull when the turbo kicks in. This slick five-speed manual goes together with it really well, too. The crooks of this small petrol though is to offer the efficiency of a diesel and it certainly does that emissions wise, with just 97g/km from its exhaust – the same as the 1.6 TDI. Its claimed mpg figure of 67mpg is a bit unrealistic though – expect closer to 50mpg in normal driving.
The A1 starts from £14,500 and for that kind of money you could have a Mini 3dr Hatch or, for a fiver more than the A1, you can have a 5dr Mini Hatch. But close price comparisons like that probably won’t matter to many potential Audi A1 buyers because all they’ll be looking for is a way into the Audi owners club – and if that is the case then the A1 will give you that. It does need some tweaking in places, which will no doubt be addressed with the next gen-model, but it still manages to deliver luxury Supermini 4:30status. But would you consider going for an A1? Thanks for read Review Of Audi A1.