Desirable Audi is still the premium supermini choice
- Stylish and classy
- Strong residual values
- Feels beautifully made
- Unforgiving ride
- Others are better to drive
- Not great value
A small Audi is big news in the car world. Signalling the brand’s first ever head-to-head battle with MINI – a car made by Audi’s arch enemy, BMW - the new A1 takes a very different, grown-up approach.
Instead of focusing on fun, the A1 smacks of classy sophistication. There’s the usual soft-touch materials and leather dotted around the cabin along with some excellent technology on offer too.
Quite frankly, nothing in its small premium class looks and feels so expensive behind the wheel even though underneath the smart-suited A1 is the humble Volkswagen Polo’s underpinnings. Its closest rivals are the Alfa Romeo Mito and DS 3.
Audi A1 diesel and petrol engine lineup
As well as the general core, the A1 has also borrowed a number of Volkswagen Group engines with a wide choice of fuel efficient turbocharged petrol engines and cheap-to-run diesel models to pick from.
There’s even a rather boisterous 184hp petrol model if you’re after something with a little added spice.
The range of petrol engines kick off with the 86hp 1.2-litre and then the larger 122hp 1.4-litre. The range-topping petrol engine is the 182hp turbo- and supercharged version to challenge the Mini Cooper S. This will deal with the 0-62mph sprint time in just 6.7 seconds and comes with the company’s excellent seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Audi A1: the bestselling diesel options
Among the diesel options is the 1.6-litre TDI that is capable of achieving 74mpg, according to Audi, as well as CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.
This means annual tax costs are low as well as making it a more viable option for company car drivers.
Facelifted in 2015 – Audi A1 improvements
A welcomed facelift came in 2015 with a wider grille, new bumpers and alloy wheel designs. These models also feature more equipment, as well as a raft of engines revisions.
Making its Audi debut is a 1.0 TFSI three-cylinder unit, and the cylinder-on-demand engine has been given a power boost. Efficiency of the 1.6-litre diesel engine is up, with Audi promising 80.7mpg and 92g/km of CO2.
Something that the smallest Audi in the range does have in common with its biggest rival, MINI, is the customisation and personalisation available for buyers.
As well as the usual raft of options on offer from the German firm, there is the choice of contrasting rooflines along with a number of other additional equipment, even a bike rack is available for the little three-door.
The Parkers Verdict
It's been around a while now, but the Audi A1 still commands a loyal following, despite strong opposition in the premium supermini sector. For those looking for a slice of premium lower down the scale, the A1 ticks all the boxes. It also has strong residuals and excellent finance deals.
It's an accomplished motorway cruiser, but on A-roads and in the city, it's more ho-hum. So if you're looking for a car that handles bad roads well, you might be tempted to look in MINI's direction. Otherwise, a safe choice in a crowded market sector.
Read the full Audi A1 review to find out why we think this is one of the most desirable small cars money can buy.
What owners say about this car
There seems to be some very mixed reviews. So here is the review of a 27 year old girl, who... Read owner review
Worse car I've ever owned. Bought it nearly new and still with warranty and have spent the last 4 years... Read owner review
I simply cannot fault my A1 Tdi Sport, it regularly returns over 70mpg if driven carefully, and over the past... Read owner review