Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI S tronic

We drive the five-door Audi A1 Sportback on British roads for the first time

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

It’s not cheap, but few small cars can match the interior quality and grown-up feel of this A1. The added practicality means the Sportback is set to be even more popular than the three-door, and the S tronic box is worth considering if you drive a lot in town. It suits the 1.4 TFSI engine well, and gives the A1 the fun missing from diesels.

The Audi A1 Sportback is now on sale in the UK, and the added practicality of the five-seater layout has done nothing to detract from the smart design.

The A1 Sportback really impressed when we first drove it on the international launch in January, but now we’ve had a chance to try the firm's S tronic dual-clutch model for the first time.

The small rear doors open wide, but don’t expect to squeeze five people aboard too often. While legroom is good, headroom is tight for six footers and the middle seat is hard and narrow.

The 120bhp 1.4 TFSI petrol engine does without the clever cylinder shutdown technology we tried previously, which cuts two of the four cylinders under light throttle loads to boost economy by around 5mpg if you drive at a constant 30mph. This technology won't be available in the UK until later this year.

The seven-speed S tronic auto was very efficient, mated to the seven-speed S tronic auto box. Thanks to stop-start, it emits 122g/km of CO2 and claims 53.3mpg fuel economy. The only downside is that it costs £1,450 more than the six-speed manual, at £17,680.

Put the box in Drive, and the car is happy to cruise quietly. Press the throttle further and it kicks down eagerly, with a satisfying growl from under the bonnet.

 

The steering is numb, but the A1’s wide tyres and low stance mean lots of front-end grip. Body roll is virtually non-existent; we’d just avoid the 17-inch alloys and sports suspension, as they make the ride too stiff.

 

These niggles aside, the Sportback is a worthy addition to the A1 line-up, and the extra flexibility justifies the £560 premium over the three-door.

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