The Audi A1 introduced itself as a luxury sports car with a small size. It’s a worthy competitor that has joined the supermini segment, and has been successful at becoming a popular choice. Many consumers have sold out units, proving that there is a market willing to pay for the extra features. But beyond looking like a premium sports car and it also has to perform close or even better than its competitors. So how will this supermini stand on the road and given the difficult conditions many driving enthusiasts push their cars towards?
The A1 features a wrap-over bonnet that is larger when seen against the vehicle’s short wheelbase. But its odd form has a specific function as it links the A1 to the TT and R8 sporting models. Other distinct features include the grille that veers away from the traditional trapezoid shape of the Audi and additional sides in the top two corners. The roof line comes in four contrasting colours, depending on the body colours that range from Ice Silver, Brilliant Black, and Cumulus Blue. Sport models include front fog lights and polished tailpipe, while the S-line trim features a roof spoiler and rear valances.
Weight distribution is improved with the battery’s position in the boot. Rear light lenses have also been included under the large tailgate to make sure that the vehicle is seen at night.
The A1 impresses the most in its interior, which not only delivers what is expected of a high-end model but also distinguishes the vehicle from other Audis. Upmarket features range from its neat cabin layout that’s cleaner looking than the larger Audi models and air vents that share the same polished look. The boot is adequate in its 270 litres luggage capacity, which is less than the Citroen and Ford Fiesta sizes. But is much bigger than the other minis that average at 160 litres.
The A1’s 1.4 TFSI at 120bhp is an adequate performer for regular road conditions. Its 60mph sprint is achievable in just 8.4 seconds. Acceleration is able to keep up with on-demand tasks, such as overtaking along cross-country roads. But you’ll have to work extra hard on the engine for the A1 to arrive at such a capability.
You may be also be spending extra for the 120bhp 1.4-litre unit over the 1.2-litre unit, but it’s an investment considering its CO2 output at 118g/km. This is five per cent lower than the usual and saves you a significant amount of road tax.
The 1.6-litre TDI unit is not the best choice for this vehicle. Its long gearing tends to feel underpowered and requires an extra push for it to achieve an acceptable performance. The only plus to this unit is its 74.3mpg and 99 g/km in terms of fuel economy and CO2 output. You can also go for the 2.0 TDI, which also offers a vivacious pace and practical economy. But this unit only comes with the S line trims and Sport variations, both of which come at a very hefty price.
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