Audi A1 Black Edition review

22 Apr, 2014 11:45am

The Audi A1 is a smart but expensive supermini - can the Black Edition extras justify the price?


The Audi A1 Black Edition comes with plenty of equipment, but the higher price means it's not the best option - go for the SE if you're looking for the best-value model.

The Audi A1 Black Edition is a limited edition version of the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer's A1 supermini.

The Audi A1 is a stylish and understated upmarket supermini that rivals the Citroen DS3, MINI and Alfa Romeo MiTo. What's more, it features many of the desirable assets found on larger Audi models. This means, of course, means it comes with a high starting price of around £21,000.

The Black Edition trim level is also offered on A3, A4, A6 and A7 Audi models. On the A1 is includes 18-inch alloys, a stylish black bodykit, xenon headlamps, LED daytime running lights privacy glass and a metallic grey front diffuser.

Audi A1 interior

On the inside (Black Edition not pictured), the changes aren't quite so visible, but Audi gives the A1 Black Edition an improved sound system, plus electronic climate control as standard.

The Audi A1 Black Edition is only available as a three-door and comes with a choice of four engines, all of which get the Stop/Start technology that's fitted as standard across the A1 range.

There are two versions of the 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine that can be chosen with Audi's ultra-intelligent Cylinder on Demand (CoD) technology or a 2.0-litre diesel TDI, which on a combined cycle, does 68.9mpg and emits 108g/km of CO2.

Audi's CoD technology shuts off two of the engine's four cylinders and reduces the A1's combined cycle from 47.9mpg to 60.1mpg over the standard 1.4-litre TFSI. CO2 emissions also drop from 139g/km to 109g/km.

The standard Audi A1 shares its underpinnings with the Volkswagen Polo and the driving experience is sensible rather than scintillating. Another downside is that the standard A1's ride is pretty firm as it is, so with the reduced ride-height and stiffer suspension found on Black and S Line edition cars, it actually borderlines on the uncomfortable.

Still, the 1.4-litre petrol engines and the 2.0-litre diesel found on the A1 are smooth, refined and come mated to Audi's six-speed manual gearbox. What's more, Audi offers its accomplished seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox on the 1.4-litre engine A1, which no doubt helps keep fuel economy to a low.

Something to be aware of in all versions of the Audi A1 (Black Edition included) is that despite its classy and well put-together cabin, it's still a small car and it finished a lowly 95th in our 2013 Driver Power survey as a result of its stiff ride, limited practicality and comfort.

What's more, it only scraped into the top 50 for reliability - a surprise given Audi's premium image and reputation for quality.

Like the regular Audi A1, the Black Edition is a very safe car as a result of scoring five-stars score in the Euro NCAP crash tests. It also gets ESP and ABS as standard in addition to driver, front passenger and front side and head airbag systems.