Audi A1 to Barnstorm Small Premium Class

Words by:
Simon Taylor
Featured in:
January 2011

Audi A1 1.4 TFSi S Tronic
Like a high quality gemstone, Audi’s new A1 small hatchback has gone on UK sale with a lengthy queue of customers waiting for their chosen bespoke version. It really is a clear-cut challenger to a big selling market sector where the current choice is mainly either the MINI Cooper or Alfa Romeo’s Mito.

There is no compromise with this latest Audi, it takes the burgeoning premium brand manufacturer into a new class. The looks are stylish; the high product quality is as one would expect from Audi; the performance and driver satisfaction are clearly a priority; and even the eco message is exceptionally strong.

Audi has sensibly created neither a budget car nor a funky fun car, for its new, bottom of the range model, however there are some attractive retro style trim options available. It is a real Audi, as I would expect, though being smaller of scale it is still a civilised, stylish and practical coupé-looking, four-seat hatchback. It will undoubtedly prove attractive, both to current Audi owners looking for that second car on the household fleet, as well as a whole lot of newcomers to the Audi experience.

In keeping with Audi’s marketing strategy, all A1 models are ordered, not batch made. This allows purchasers to create a bespoke vehicle, selecting from some seriously sensible options. These include: 3-spoke steering wheel with paddle shift controls when opting for variants fitted with the impressive S Tronic transmission; light and rain sensors; satellite navigation; electronic climate control; automatic headlight system with coming home/leaving home function; a 6-speaker upmarket sound system and much more.

More comprehensive equipment option packages are also available based on particular characteristics. These are Technology, Comfort, Competition and Media Styles plus an across-the-board, attractive 5-year 50,000-mile Service Plan at £250.

The A1 range comprises ten variants using 1.2 and 1.4 TFSI petrol engines or a 1.6 TDI diesel engine, with turbo charging standard on all power units. Three specifications are on offer – SE, Sport and S Line.

Fuel consumption on the Combined Cycle is 53.3 mpg, so in excess of 40 mpg should be realistic, while the low C02 emission of 124 g/km has both ecological and financial advantages. All A1 models are under 130 g/km emissions allowing freedom from VED for the first registration year.

There is a great deal of practicality about the design of the A1. The interior does not feel claustrophobic. Boot capacity is 270 litres or up to 920 litres with both of the rear seats folded. There is also installation for ISOFIX child seating and even reasonable interior oddments stowage.

Whether it be by adding options or sticking mainly with the standard equipment, this small Audi certainly provides quality motoring created, not from the basis of a budget car, but from a known pedigree.

A1 price range: from £13,420 – £18,665.

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