Car group tests

Audi A1 Sport review

The Audi A1 Sport is a good looking, premium supermini with loads of big-car kit. Can it justify its high asking price though?

The Audi A1 Sport sits between the entry level SE and the top-spec Audi A1 S Line models. Like the rest of the A1 range, it still packs loads of the big-car kit found on larger Audi models such as the A3, A5 and higher end A7 and A8.

While the Audi A1 is clearly an upmarket supermini rival to the likes of the Citroen DS3, MINI and Alfa Romeo MiTo, the Audi brand appeal means the A1 Sport comes with the pretty hefty starting-price tag of around £16,000.

The entry-level Audi A1 SE comes pretty well specced, with Start/Stop technology, an AUX jack, a smart pop-up display screen, air conditioning and body coloured door mirrors as standard. The Audi A1 Sport builds on this, by giving buyers a 16-inch alloys and polished twin exhausts, plus front-fog lamps as standard exterior kit. On the inside, the Audi A1 Sport gets a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, aluminium interior inlays and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

Available as both a three-door and five-door Sportback, the Audi A1 Sport comes with a choice of four engines, all of which get the Stop/Start technology that's fitted as standard across the A1 range.

Audi A1 dashboard

The Audi A1 Sport gets 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.

Despite its Sport moniker, the Audi A1 Sport is rather leisurely in its performance, so if you want RallyCross looks and pace, you'll have to go for the Audi S1 quattro. The Audi A1 shares its framework with the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza, so the driving experience is quite laid back. While the suspension on the Audi A1 is pretty stiff, it thankfully doesn't get the reduced ride-height and stiffer suspension found on the flagship S Line and limited edition Black models.

Either way, the 1.4-litre petrol engines and the 2.0-litre diesel found on the Audi A1 are smooth, refined and come mated to Audi's six-speed manual gearbox as standard. 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 nice and low.

In our 2014 Driver Power survey, the Audi A1 made an impressive 32 place jump to rank 63rd out out of 150 cars. However, buyers should still be aware its a small car.

Like the regular car, the Audi A1 Sport 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.

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