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Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
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Smart, high-tech hatch is desirable but not exciting

Audi A1 Sportback (18 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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PROS

  • More spacious than previous generation
  • Comfortable, nicely equipped cabin
  • Good fuel economy
  • Attractive personalisation options
  • Strong resale values

CONS

  • 2.0-litre model underwhelming
  • Pricier than rivals, steep PCP finance
  • No diesels available
  • Some cheap interior plastics
  • Looks more conventional than before

PROS

  • More spacious than previous generation
  • Comfortable, nicely equipped cabin
  • Good fuel economy
  • Attractive personalisation options
  • Strong resale values

CONS

  • 2.0-litre model underwhelming
  • Pricier than rivals, steep PCP finance
  • No diesels available
  • Some cheap interior plastics
  • Looks more conventional than before

Verdict

What is it Audi A1

The 2018 Audi A1 Sportback is a premium rival to the MINI Hatch and DS 3, as well as upmarket Vignale versions of the Ford Fiesta in the supermini hatchback class.

But it is also closely related to the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza – the three cars are all based on the same underpinnings.

How many doors does the 2018 Audi A1 Sportback have?

This second-generation model is available only as a five-door version, known as a Sportback in Audispeak. There’s not a three-door version this time.

Audi A1 side

It’s externally a bit longer than its predecessor, although narrower and lower, and feels noticeably larger than before inside. Audi says you get more shoulder and elbow room with enough space so that four six-feet adults have just enough room to travel in comfort.

There’s more space out back too – a 335-litre boot with the seats up, and 1,090 litres with them folded. That’s more than you get in the key MINI rival.

What’s it like inside?

A standard 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system and 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster lend a slick, modern feel. The high-tech gloss complemented by crisp, architectural lines of the dashboard.

Audi A1 interior

The trade-off is some hard, cheap-feeling interior plastics in surprisingly noticeable places – the top of the doors, for instance. However, physical buttons are logically arranged, and the touchscreen intuitive to navigate.

Which engines does the 2018 Audi A1 Sportback have?

There are four turbocharged engines available – all petrol this time with no diesel in sight, largely because it’s not a traditionally strong seller in this size car. You can also choose between a six-speed manual or dual-clutch S Tronic automatic gearbox

Engines take the form of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine badged 25 TFSI (95hp), or 30 TFSI (116hp) and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder 35 TFSI with 150hp.

Audi A1 engine

Top of the range is the 40 TFSI, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 200hp – this comes in S Line Competition trim, with 17-inch platinum grey alloy wheels with matching door mirror housings, adaptive suspension and red brake calipers.

What trim levels does the 2018 Audi A1 Sportback have?

All other models are available in SE, Sport and S Line trim. As well as the media system and instrument cluster mentioned earlier, standard equipment across the range includes a multi-function steering wheel, LED front and rear lights, DAB radio, smartphone interface, voice control, electric heated mirrors, plus lane-departure warning, and Audi pre-sense, with pedestrian/cyclist recognition.

Sport upgrades the wheels from 15- to 16-inch alloys and you get cloth sports seats, cruise control and rear parking sensors. S Line introduces 17-inch alloys, sports suspension (which can be deleted), bodykit and half cloth/half leatherette trim.

Audi A1 wheel

There are plenty of opportunities to personalise the Audi A1 Sportback, with some key equipment combined in attractive bundles. The S Line Style and S Line Contrast packages add upgrades including leather or Alcantara fake suede upholstery, unique alloy wheel finishes and darker exterior trim highlights.

Buyers can also choose the Technology Pack (MMI Navigation Plus, Virtual Cockpit, wireless charging, and Audi Connect smartphone mirroring), and the Comfort and Sound Pack (Bang & Olufsen 11-speaker stereo, parking sensors/camera and heated front seats).

The Audi A1 Sportback has grown up in its second incarnation, with a more mature feel and some highly impressive tech. The larger bodyshell does have a more mainstream look than the cuter, more compact original, but it also results in a larger cabin and boot – it’s a supermini that can cover more bases than its predecessor, including family duties.

This is an expensive choice compared with rivals, but the 30 TFSI is predicted to retain 45% of its value after three years/60,000 miles, which should help lower PCP monthly payments as well as providing those buying outright with more security.

It’s easy to spend even more than the A1 Sportback’s already high base price, but our choice would be a three-cylinder 30 TFSI with a manual transmission and some nice options rather than a more powerful model with a lower spec.

Audi A1 rear view

Read on for the full 2018 Audi A1 Sportback review.