Audi A1 Review - prices, specs and 0-60 time

evo staff
3 Jul 2016

The entry level Audi gets tested

Evo Rating: 
Good looks, fine build and an interior that’s just sensational
All that obvious style isn’t backed up with any dynamic delight

evo Verdict

Audi is the only top end manufacturer to take on the Mini on its own turf, with the three-door and five-door A1 taking aim squarely at the plucky brit.

While it might lack the nostalgia of the British offering, it does best the Mini with Audi's traditional Teutonic attention to detail, as well as a neat design and a beautiful class-leading interior. The range topping 227bhp 2.0-litre S1 quattro is definitely worth investigating, proving particularly impressive when run as a long termer in evo Magazine.

The more ordinary A1 versions do of course make up the bulk of sales and while its pretty mundane underneath, bearing a close relation to the VW Polo, this hasn't hurt the car's popularity one bit.  

evo Tip

While the Audi A1 might be aimed directly at the Mini as competition, only a handful of the variants, S1 included, are remotely fun to drive. The 1.4 TSI model is most definitely the pick of the bunch and while they all have the capacity to please, you’ll be happy behind the wheel because of the beautiful environment you’re situated in, rather than any deep-seated desire to drive it. Sport trim brings stiffer suspension, to the detriment of ride comfort, but thankfully it’s a free de-select option, and despite the evo mantra, we’d recommend doing without.  

evo Comment

There are few surprises in the A1 line-up, sticking to Audi's traditional paradigm. It's all about competent rather than sparkling dynamic make-up. The choice of engines will please, but won't cajole you into really enjoying them. In particular the rev-happy 1.0 litre and 1.4 TSI petrol motors are by far the most exciting and interesting from a point of view. The 1.6-litre TDI diesel does have its moments, if not just because of its mid-range punch, but really it's not going to do much from a dynamics and excitement perspective.

In isolation it’s a commendable, upmarket, if expensive supermini, but if you bring the Mini into the mix the Audi’s shortcomings behind the wheel are far more apparent. You’ll like it, but it’ll never surprise or excite like the best, enthusiastic small and light superminis can; the A1 feels very much like a sensible premium car made small, rather than a fun small car made premium. 

Performance and 0-60 time > A 93bhp engine sees the A1 hit 62mph in 10.9sec and reach a top speed of 116mph. If you want performance then look to the S1 quattro. Read all about the Audi A1 performance here

Engine and Gearbox > All 1-litre Audi A1s come with a five-speed transmission as standard, while TDI models and 1.4-litre TFSI-equipped cars have a six-speed ’box. A dual-clutch ’box is offered as an option. Read all about the Audi A1 engine and gearbox here

Ride and handling > The Audi A1 is not a playful machine – it’s a sensible, grown-up car. It corners well, but with no enthusiasm. Read all about the Audi A1 ride and handling here

MPG and running costs > If fuel economy is your goal then the TDI model is the one to go for – it manages a combined 80.7mpg and dodges road tax due to minimal carbon dioxide emissions. Read all about the Audi A1 MPG and running costs here

Prices, specs and rivals > The cheapest A1 – the 1-litre TFSI – starts at just under £14,530. It’s the closest rival for the new Mini, but lacks the special verve that the reinvented British icon possesses. Read all about the Audi A1 prices, specs and rivals here

Interior and tech > Fit and finish in the A1 is what you would expect of an Audi – it’s superb. The 2015 Audi A1 also has cylinder-on-demand technology, which improves fuel economy. Read all about the Audi A1 interior and tech here

Design > The A1 is a good-looking, polished hatch that impressively translates Audi’s chiseled design language into supermini form. Read all about the Audi A1 design here

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