Audi A1 - company car hero

  • The Audi A1 is the firm's smallest hatchback
  • We dissect the range and explain the costs
  • Which model is the Parkers company car pick?

The Audi A1 is a small hatchback with big appeal to company car drivers. Its mix of style, build quality and low tax bills means business car parks are rapidly filling up with the little Audi.

But, which one makes the most sense to the company car driver?

1. Engine

The first big decision to make is which engine to go for. We'll be looking at the S Line versions to find out which engine is best in terms of monthly company car tax. This should give you an idea of the relative cost of each since the spec is the same; it’s just the engines that are different. All calculations are made on the 40% pay scale and assume no optional extras, which will push the tax cost up.

With the 84bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine the A1 emits 118g/km of CO2, putting it into the 10% tax Benefit-in-Kind bracket this year. With a P11d value of £16,750 this means a tax bill of £56 per month. However, this will increase to a 15% tax liability after April 1, meaning the monthly bill will rise to £84.

The more powerful 122bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine produces emissions of 124g/km and has a P11d value of £17,160. It slots into the 15% band this year, costing £86 per month. This will rise to 16% in the next tax year, with the monthly cost rising to £92.

If you go for a diesel engine you have two options. The first is 1.6-litre, producing 103bhp, which helps the A1 emit 99g/km of CO2. However, due to the 3% diesel levy you’ll have to pay company car tax at 13%. This means the monthly costs will be £77 this year and the same next year.

The second diesel option is a 141bhp 2.0-litre option which emits 108g/km. Company car tax for this model is £84 per month this year and £104 next year.

2. Gearbox

There are three gearbox choices in the A1. You can either have a five-speed manual on 1.2-litre petrol or 1.6-litre diesel engines, a six-speed manual on 1.4-litre petrol or 2.0-litre manual engines, or Audi’s excellent twin-clutch S-Tronic semi-automatic if you go for the 1.4-litre petrol engine.

Although the S tronic is a great gearbox, which improves acceleration while changing gear in a fraction of a second, you pay a £1,000 premium for it and that’s going to affect your company car tax. For instance on an S Line 1.4 TFSI it’ll cost you an extra £7 per month or £84 per year.

3. Trim level

The base trim level is known as SE. With this trim you get stop/start, 15-inch alloys, a tyre repair kit, a radio/CD/MP3 player, aux-in socket, a 6.5-inch screen, cloth upholstery, electric front windows, electric door mirrors, four airbags, ESP, ISOFIX preparation for the rear seats, halogen headlights and a first aid kit.

Sport trim adds 16-inch wheels, Bluetooth handsfree preparation, sports front seats, aluminium trim for the interior, a polished exhaust tailpipe and front fog lights.

Top-of-the-range S Line spec means on top of all that you get 17-inch wheels, sports suspension, cloth/leather upholstery, a leather steering wheel, S Line badging and a special body styling kit.

So what’s the difference between trim levels? If we take the A1 with the 1.2-litre petrol engine we’ll have a look at the difference in cost per month.

In SE spec it’ll cost you £45 per month or £535 per year on the 40% pay scale. In Sport trim it’ll be £51 per month or £608 per year, and in top-of-the-range S Line it’ll be £56 a month or £670 per year.

Parkers Pick

A company car driver who wants an Audi A1 will likely be concerned with style and equipment levels as well as low costs. For that reason we’d pick a 1.6 TDI S Line with the five-speed gearbox. This will cost you £77 per month on the 40% pay scale, or £926 per year. For the 2012/13 tax year, the costs – assuming the P11d price doesn’t change – should remain the same.