Find a car review

Make
Model
Reviews

Audi A1 1.4 TFSI 185 S Line review

The 182bhp Audi A1 S line is the quickest and sportiest A1 - at least until the forthcoming S1 turns up.

Evo rating
Price
from £20,710
  • The quickest A1 you can buy
  • A Mini is still more fun

What is it? The fastest and sportiest Audi A1 you can buy. Until the S1 comes along, that is. In fact, this 1.4 TFSI 185 S Line was due to gain the far snappier S1 tag before bosses decided it wasn’t potent enough, and with front-wheel drive, lacking the Quattro drivetrain Audi’s S cars have always possessed. It costs £20,710. Technical highlights? It’s effectively Audi’s take on the Volkswagen Polo GTI, occuplying the top rung of a ladder that descends down to the Skoda Fabia vRS and SEAT Ibiza Cupra. As such, the A1 gets the same 1.4-litre twin-charged engine (a supercharger works at low revs, turbocharger higher to make it brisk at all engine speeds) and seven-speed twin-clutch ‘DSG’ transmission, only here the engine gets an extra 4bhp and the gearbox is called S tronic. What’s it like to drive? Pretty good, and without the pressure of an iconic performance badge on its rump, the driving experience doesn’t underwhelm a little like it does in the Polo GTI. The engine is a tremendous piece of kit, with a striking turn of pace in all gears on even part throttle. In the real world, it’s as a quick as a hatch really needs to be, with a shove of torque in all parts of the rev-range. Our test car didn’t have steering wheel-mounted paddles for the gearbox (they’re a £95 option) but with S tronic rarely slotting you into the wrong gear (and the economy benefits of using automatic mode), this isn’t the end of the world. It’s not a car you’ll ever drive just for the hell of it, with the steering light and precise but not satisfying to use, and the handling controlled and capable rather than captivating. It’s an easy car to drive very quickly, but not a rewarding one. Instead, you’ll revel in high levels of refinement and a truly quality interior. A circa-£2000 premium over the already-high-quality Polo genuinely feels fair. How does it compare? If you purely want the clever 1.4 TSI/seven-speed DSG combo, a Skoda Fabia vRS boasts five doors, a good kit list and a £16,415 price tag. But no one desiring an Audi would ever have the vRS on their radar, so more fitting rivals are the Citroen DS3 (150bhp, £17,895) and Mini Cooper S (181bhp, £18,015). The former looks funkier, the latter’s a better drive, but neither feels as well screwed together as the pricier Audi. Anything else I need to know? A four-wheel-drive S1 is on the cards, and will deliver north of 200bhp. A five-door A1 is also imminent, and a 1.4 TFSI 185 S Line version seems a dead cert.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1390cc, twin-charger
Max power182bhp @ 6200rpm
Max torque184lb ft @ 2000-4500rpm
0-606.9sec (claimed 0-62)
Top speed141mph
On saleNow
Advertisement
Advertisement

Have You Considered

Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/201726/mercedes-amg-electric-car-to-target-porsche-taycan-and-tesla-model-s
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG electric car to target Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S

10 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/18328/2020-volkswagen-id3-revealed-vws-electric-revolution-is-here
Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed - VW’s electric revolution is here

9 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/201772/best-v8-cars-past-and-present-our-favourite-eights-and-the-cars-theyre-found-in
Best cars

Best V8 cars past and present – our favourite eights and the cars they’re found in

Whether it’s smooth and sophisticated or motorsport-like in its aggression, the V8 remains one of our favourite engine types, warts and all
20 Sep 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/golf/21122/volkswagen-golf-mk8-spied-near-free-of-camouflage-before-october-debut
Volkswagen Golf hatchback

Volkswagen Golf Mk8 spied near-free of camouflage before October debut

All-new eighth-generation Golf is only weeks away from its reveal – this is all you need to know.
18 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22773/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-chosen-by-those-in-the-know-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - chosen by those in the know

The perfect choice for those looking to extract every last drop of performance, we run down Goodyear's Eagle F1 SuperSport range
12 Jun 2019