Audi promises big car sophistication in a small package with their new A1 writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? The A1 may be the smallest car in Audi’s range but it is every inch the premium car and proof that less really can be more.
Who is it aimed at? With stylish looks and a very sophisticated interior Audi’s A1 will appeal to fashion conscious singletons.
Styling? For 2015 the A1 has had a nip and tuck that includes new headlights and a redesigned bumper and grille unit but overall the changes go pretty much unnoticed.
Under the Bonnet? The biggest change to the smallest Audi is lurking underneath the bonnet where a punchy 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine powers our test car. But if a one litre sounds too small for your needs there are six engines – petrol and diesel – across the range to choose from and all are new or have been revised.
What about inside? Inside is all the minimalist chic we have come to expect from Audi with the same level of quality found further up the range. The front seats are really comfortable and there’s plenty of leg and headroom. Our three door test car is ideal for two plus a couple of bags but space for rear passengers is tight so be warned leggy friends will certainly feel cramped. No-one will ask you for a lift to IKEA as the boot is tiny at 270 litres but the rear seat back do fold down to give a respectable 920 litres.
On the Road? The ride is firm but comfortable on most surfaces so it won’t quite shake your fillings loose and the gear box makes for quick and seamless shifts. It is also fun to drive with a decent amount of feedback from the steering and loads of grip ensures turning and cornering are reassuringly surefooted.
And Safety? The A1 features an impressive list of standard safety equipment and all versions are fitted with six airbag plus it has been awarded the full five stars from Euro NCAP.
Options? Available as a three or five door model the range starts at €21,450 and three main trim levels are offered on the A1, entry-level, SE and S Line. The SE adds 16” alloy wheels; LED rear lights; sports seats; rear-parking sensors; contrast colour rear spoiler and wing mirrors; and a front centre armrest for a €1,600 premium. The range topping S line model is €3,000 above the entry model but comes with 17” alloy wheels; xenon headlights; sports suspension; front fog lights; Audi drive select; S line exterior styling; sports seats; chrome exhaust tips; and gloss black air vent inlays.
Will it break the bank? Prices for the A1 are a little higher than for similarly sized superminis, but then you’re getting something premium and that beautifully crafted interior and overall sophistication make the A1 look almost reasonable value for money. The 95bhp 1.0-litre petrol promises a healthy average 4.4 litres per 100 or 64.2 mpg and road tax is €190 per annum
Verdict? The A1 is for the dedicated follower of fashion who wants to stand out in a crowd. One of the most grown up small cars around it offer luxurious comfort and sophisticated styling with a premium badge. The MINI maybe more rewarding to drive but Audi’s A1 is beautifully built, efficient and good to drive making it a very desirable small car.
Why you’ll buy one? Sophisticated; Economical; Quality
Why you won’t? Expensive; Space in the rear is tight;
DS3 – prices start from €18,995
MINI – prices start from €19,900
Audi A1 1.0TFSI 95 SE
Engine: 1000cc, 95bhp @5000 – 5500 rpm, 160 NM @ 1500 – 3500 rpm
Max speed: 186km/h
0-100 kph: 10.9 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 102 g/km (Band A3 €190)
Model price range: €€21,450 – €36,970 – (Test Car –€28,508*)
No of Doors: 3 doors
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.4 litres or 64.2 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up(down): 270 litres(920)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Wheelbase: 2469 mm
*Additional options on test car included Exterior Paint Finish in Contrasting Colour, 17″ 5 Spoke V Design Alloys, Connectivity Package (Ready for Nav), decorative Trims in Floret Silver Metallic Paint – €3808
25th August, 2015