Audi A1 – Not in the USA
Audi A1 is available in three and five door (Sportback) bodystyles, both at the same price. The A1 Attraction, available only as five door. It runs a 63kW 1.2 liter turbopetrol/six-speed manual. Both A1 Audi Attraction and Ambition are also available with a 90kW and 200Nm 1.4 liter direct-injection turbocharged TFSi petrol engine and six-speed manual automated.
The Audi A1 1.4TSi Sport with the 136kW supercharged and turbocharged 1.4 and seven-speed S-Tronic drivetrain, as used in the Volkswagen Polo GTi is also available. The 66kW and 230Nm 1.6 liter TDi turbo diesel, with five-speed manual, as also used in the Polo costs the same as the 1.4 liter petrol versions in Attraction. Audi A1 Ambition spec, also with the S-Tronic option.
The A1 1.6 TDi is an honest frugal slugger, but unless you’re wedded to diesel or spend most of your drivetime cruising country highway, you’ll find the 1.4 a much more enjoyable, refined and sprinted device.
It reaches 100km/h in a claimed 8.9 seconds, compared with the Diesel’s 11.5 seconds. The S-Tronic has Sport mode plus manual shifting with paddles on the wheel, and it’s a natural fit with the 1.4 liter engine.
Both engine deliver outstanding fuel efficiency and low emissions, assisted by an automatic stop/start system.
The 135kW engine in the Audi A1 Sport is a beauty. Supercharging gives it remarkable tractability at low revs. Serious urge starts at 3500rpm or so, from where you’re given another 3000rpm of punchy, sparkling performance, before the 1.4 starts to fade a little near the 7000rpm redline. It reaches 100km/h in 6.9 seconds.
In manual mode, S-Tronic gives you ultra fast, seamless shifts every time. Audi has modified the Volkswagen Polo’s running gear to give the A1 sportier dynamics.
An electronic limited slip differential brakes the inside front wheel in hard cornering, minimizing understeer. The Audi A1 is light and well-balanced, so it’s quickly settles and tracks nicely, pushing the front end hard but without giving up grip and running too wide under power.
The steering is light and intuitive but also a touch overassisted at speed, less precise and talkative than it should be. The ride, while OK in town gets a bit choopy on rough open roads and the brakes could use more power.
Hop straight from the A1 into a Polo and you wouldn’t pick the Audi’s cabin as being any more expensive than the Volkswagen’s. You’re also short changed on standard equipment, with stuff that should be standard, like iPod connectivity packaged as expensive options.
There’s comfortable and supportive driver’s seat plus plenty of seat and steering wheel-adjustment.
Rear-seat access, space and comfort are reasonable for a three-door hatchback.
The boot floor is easily extended in length and depth. There’s no spare underneath, just a compressor and a can of sealant.
The Audi A1 Attraction has 15-inch alloys, the Ai Ambition wears 16-inchers and the Sport has 17-inch.
The Audi A1 is a tight, enjoyable little car, but against some hot competition it’s overpriced. It makes no sense the Audi A1 Sport price for example should cost much more expensive than the Volkswagen Polo GTi, when, apart from the badge, they are the same piece of machinery. So don’t get too upset just because this Audi A1 is not available in the U.S yet.