Audi A1 Sportback (5-door) review

1 Jul, 2014 5:30pm Jack Rix

The Audi A1 5-door Sportback is a more practical version of the A1 supermini, designed to take on the MINI Clubman


The extra pair of doors adds another string to the A1’s bow. Don’t expect a spacious family car though - access to the rear is improved, but it’s still fairly cramped for adults. Some will be put off by the high price, but spend some time in the high-quality interior, consider the high-end technology under the skin, and it’s obvious where your money is going.

The Audi A1 5-door Sportback remains a small car with limited practicality, but an extra set of rear doors certainly adds another string to its bow. It’s now a feasible option for families with small children. And with Audi offering a wide range of diesel and petrol engines, - all turbocharged and with stop start - there should be something to suit all needs.

Audi’s A1 5-door Sportback is slightly taller and wider than its 3-door sibling, but you’ll find very little penalty in terms of style. The sharp creases and dramatic LED lights, front and rear have been carried over. And the A1 5-door Sportback gets a range of new alloy wheel designs, ranging from 15 to 18-inch in size. The stylish cabin gets the same logical layout and as you’d expect from Audi - top-quality materials have been used throughout.

The Audi A1 5-door Sportback drives well too - its low weight and compact size certainly makes it agile through the corners, and the sharp and direct steering is nicely weighted, making it easy to drive in and around town as well as on motorways. Driving is further enhanced by the standard electronic differential aiding grip when needed. However the Audi A1 5-door Sportback suffers from a rather firm ride, and if you decide to go for the S Line or Black Edition models it becomes quite uncomfortable.

Diesel fans get the choice of 104bhp 1.6 TDI and 141bhp 2.0 TDI units, both of which are smooth and punchy, but don’t feel particularly sporty. Petrol options include a 85bhp 1.2 TFSI and a 1.4 TFSI with either 120bhp, 138bhp or 182bhp – all of which can be ordered with a twin-clutch seven-speed S tronic gearbox. These engines feel eager to rev and produce a growl from the exhausts that suits the A1 5-door Sportback’s character far better than the diesels.

All A1 5-door Sportbacks come with ESP and six airbags as standard. There have been no major recalls on the three-door version of the A1, and seeing as the 5-door Sportback is based on the same platform and uses the same engines, it’s a similar story here. Audi has an excellent record for reliability and build quality, so the Sportback should stand up to everyday use well – even if you choose to use it as a family car and put small children in the back.

Thanks to the extra six millimetres in height and six millimetres in width, the A1 Sportback has a little extra headroom and legroom compared to the three-door A1. All UK cars come with five seats as standard, but don’t expect masses of space in the back, tall adults will still find it a squeeze to sit behind one another. Boot space is on a par with the three-door – so that means 270 litres of space with the rear seats in place and 920 litres with them folded flat. You can adjust the height of the boot floor too, to either maximise space or raise it up to create a perfectly level loading lip.

Stop-start is standard across the A1 5-door Sportback range, and the cleanest model is the tax-free 1.6 TDI with fuel economy and CO2 emission of 74.3mpg and 99g/km respectively. Even the 182bhp 1.4 TFSI, capable of 0-62mph in seven seconds, returns 47.9mpg. The cleverest engine by far though is the brand new 138bhp 1.4 TFSI which features a development of the system already seen on the Audi S8’s 4.0-litre V8. It can shut down two of its four-cylinders on light throttle loads, saving around 5mpg of fuel – the result is 60.1mpg and 109g/km.

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They should have learned from Mini and extended the floor pan - you can't charge £19k for five doors if the rear is so cramped.
I'll wait until the new A3 5 door appears..................

Are Audi trying to blind us with excessive choice or just to plug every conceivable gap in the market?
All I hope is that it is more reliable than the lovely looking but costly and unreliable A2 I had for a while.

Oh, and my Juke Tekna came fully loaded with all the extras Audi change huge sums for, all for under £18,000.
Residuals? They never amount to meaning much anyway. So why pay over the odds for a cramped under equipped Euro box when you have so much choice elsewhere?

Pointless car is pointless. Better of with a polo if you are a VW fan after all.

What a load of crap, tiny little car for £19k. It's a flipping Fabia/Polo.

It's not a cheap car but this looks like a higher end Sport model. But then new cars have jumped up in price quite a bit. It is the new engine with cylinder shutdown that sounds most interesting, near derv mpg with a smooth petrol engine. Makes me laugh though seems better than the new BMW 1.6 138 petrol in the F20 116i.

That will prove a cracking lump when it reaches VW, Skoda and Seat. I'm all for a Q3 or new A3 next year ad would go for this new 1.4 TSi in an A3.

I would not spend almost £20k on a small VW Polo based Audi. There are many other better ways of spending that kind of money.

Weight: 1.125 tonnes! My 11 year old A2 1.2 TDI is around 850kg!

A1 5 door Boot space: 270/970 litres cf A2:390/1085 litres

Recently drove A1 1.6 TDI: 46mpg on commute and 1.4 TFSI 32mpg same route. Compared to A2 3L: 79mpg same route: 28 miles in 45 mins.

Quote "cleanest is the 104bhp 1.6 TDI diesel with economy of 74.3mpg and emissions of 99g/km" What a laugh!!!

A 3.0L Petrol is probably far cleaner than a 1.6 Diesel because diesels emit far more cancer causing emissions!

I don't care about Co2, it won't kill me!!!!

The A1 is too expensive for a tiny car, madness!

As a VAG fan who has had 3 Audis and 3 VWs, I would seriously consider this premium 5 door supermini. But I must have one with a DSG gearbox. Which models and trims will offer that option?

So finally VW are playing catch-up with Nissan's electric and Toyota's hybrid drive-trains by tweaking the tried and tested combustion engine.
Nice try this cylinder deactivation technology. Can't help wondering why didn't they think of this before. What were the car-makers doing for years. Well at least now they are working on cutting emissions and upping fuel economy.
Audi A1 is a nice car but way too expensive. Besides it's not suitable for family use. However it begins to make sense when compared with BMW's Mini. If I were to buy a Mini I'd rather buy a five-door A1. However I'm sure Countryman is more roomy.
I'd rather buy a Polo once VW start putting modern fuel-efficient engines in it.

If any of the haters moaning on this page about it could actually afford it, they wouldnt be complaning. No one cares that you failed in life and have to buy second hand jap sheds....leave the audis to those who "can"...

Completely agree with Ecoangel.
Really I expected far more from Audi, and I really wanted to love the car but it was a huge disappointment. I drove an A1 Sportback 1.6Tdi Sport for a couple of days doing my average routine drive into London.
The first thing that struck me was the engine noise, it's like turning the clock back 10yrs to when diesels were deafening, you need to hear it to believe it, it's far more noisy than my current BMW 118D, or my previous BMW 520D, Audi A4 or Golf GT Tdi. Then there was the boot, I was moving some small boxes at the time, I was staggered how small the boot was, it turns out it's only 1/3 larger than my daughters minuscule Fiat 500. There is also VERY little leg room in the back if the front passengers need leg room.
Then there's the fuel economy, I switched on the fuel efficiency program on driver info system so I was changing gear at the right point, despite this I could only get 55mpg out of it ,which is roughly what I am getting from my 2008 118d. The version I had only had 5 gears, which felt like it wasn't contributing at all to the motorway economy. It's like it's not designed for motorway driving.
Sorry to burst your bubble if you were looking to buy one if these, and unlike the previous comments, I really don't know what the alternative is if you are going for a small car... sorry! Mini is impractical with it's suicide door. Polo Bluemotion is very expensive for what it is and not uber-economical either.
I've ended up ordering a larger car, I've decided the Volvo V40 looks like better value for money at £19.5k. 94g/km and 78mpg on paper.
Finally Richardcr what was it that drew you to the appearance of the Juke, it's astoundingly ugly!

We have one, we like it

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