Audi A1 review


What is?

The cheapest way to buy an Audi. From £18,910. Nobody spends that. 95% of A1 buyers switch from Technik to Sport or S line models. This is the second generation A1, eight years after the original. Like that car, it manages to hide the fact that it’s based on the same toolkit as the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza: different proportions, a sportier stance, a desire to stand out. Like a Mini.

Don’t get used to it, though: Audi has already confirmed that this Mk2 A1 city car will be its last, with no direct replacement on the horizon. Instead, we’re likely to see something small and Audi-badged next with an all-electric powertrain, likely based on the MEB platform that underpins the ID.3 and pretty much everything the VW group plans to do with a battery.

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So what are my engine options?

The A1 is offered with a choice of four engines, all petrol. Diesel is beyond a dirty word these days. All have a single turbo, direct injection and particulate filter. The range starts with a 94 bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine (called 25 TFSI), then a 108 bhp 1.0-litre (30 TFSI), then a 1.5-litre block producing 148 bhp (35 TFSI). ) and finally a 2.0 40 liter unit (40 TFSI) capable of 204 hp.

Choose between a five- or six-speed manual transmission (the former only with the entry-level three-potentiometer, the latter exclusive to the 30 TFSI at the time of writing), or embrace life with a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission. speeds for the model. two engines up. You can also get the PDK dual-clutch on the 25 TFSI, though you’ll pay a premium of around £1500 each time you go for the manual alternative.

Is the range of finishes so complex?

Yes. The version changes from the base Technic, going through Sport (with switchable rear parking sensors, cruise and driving modes) to S line (bigger body changes, stiffer sport suspension, although, hallelujah, the latter is not selected) and Black Edition (for additional style) . There’s a Vorsprung edition of the 35 TFSI auto with even more bells and whistles, while the range-topping 2.0-litre is only available as an S line Competition version to mark its flagship status.

What is not the A1?

Four-wheel drive, a hot hatch, available as a three-door (it only accounted for 20% of sales, so it’s long gone), clever or imaginative. There’s no word on an S1 replacement, with Audi telling us it’s “not currently in the plan”. But it did go to the trouble of shimming this 2.0-litre EA888 from the Golf GTI and detuning it (OK, it’s also the Polo GTI unit), so it’d be weird not to put it to good use. We’d love a 270bhp S1 soon, Audi please, but with the A1’s days numbered, we’re not holding our breath. Either way, the 2.0 is the only way to justify the three open slots under the hood. It’s a styling device taken from the 1984 Sport Quattro Group B rally car. It’s also on the Audi R8.

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Luxurious. Remind me, who is he for?

According to Audi, the A1 is aimed at a young, urban audience. It is not all? The problem is that this public does not buy cars. And if they are, they’re probably early adopters of something hybrid or electric. Therefore, the young urban shopper is more likely to be perceived as a young-at-heart suburban shopper.

What’s the verdict?

As an ownership perspective, the new A1 stands out. But he is disappointed by the bad behavior on the road.

The Audi A1’s biggest flaw is that it doesn’t drive as sharp and engaging as it should. It is important? For 95% of buyers, probably not. And even for the five percent who care, it’s hard to worry anymore once you’ve seen the cabin layout, packaging, paint and finish options, and more. This is a desirable small sedan.

But let’s get back to driving. Audi remade the A4 some time ago, focusing on comfort rather than handling, and the result was the best A4 of all time, a car that felt right for its audience. There was an opportunity to do something similar here, to add some flair to the A1 experience. That Audi chose not to and instead gave the car an economical drive is a shame. But it is not a decisive factor. As a visual object and property perspective, the A1 stands out.

Next: Conduct

Audi A1 Sportback frontAudi A1 Sportback rearAudi A1 Sportback front

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