Engine and gearbox
All Audi A1s come as standard with a manual transmission, a five-speeder on the 1.0-litre and TDI and a six-speed item on the 1.4-litre TFSIs and S1. Both gearboxes are light and unobtrusive to use, making fast gear changes easy. Sadly neither are the most satisfying, feeling like there’s more plastic than metal in the linkage.
There is an optional seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox available on all models except the S1. The S tronic is an incredibly impressive gearbox, changes are almost instant and there’s no hint of sloppiness. However, its incredible precision leaves no room for character so can dull the driving experience slightly.
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The manual is much nicer to use and makes you feel much more involved with the car, even if every gear change isn’t perfect.
There’s a small drop in economy with that S Tronic transmission in the three-cylinder 1.0 TFSI and diesel, although it doesn't change the 0-62mph time. Emissions do drop a percentage point in the tax payable, which, in this marketplace really counts. Fitted to the higher power 1.4 TFSI model economy and emissions are unchanged, as is the performance.