New Audi A1 2015 facelift review

Latest Audi A1 facelift is subtle, but tweaks make it better value

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The pre-facelift A1 still felt like a pretty fresh package, which is why Audi has approached the facelift with a light touch. Styling changes are easy to miss, but tweaks to the engine and equipment list bring more value to the customer. We love this refined and super-economical diesel engine, but save some money and stick with the manual.

The Audi A1 has been bringing sophistication and style to the small premium class since 2011, but things move quickly and with the new MINI raising the bar, Audi has wisely updated its smallest model.

While you’ll struggle to notice the subtle changes to the bumpers, lights and grille, Audi has spent more of its time on the important bits – improving the engine line-up and adding more kit for your money. It’s the new 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol that has grabbed the headlines, as it’s the first ever three-cylinder in Audi’s UK range, but it’s the 1.6 diesel driven here that has the lowest running costs.

Audi’s engineers have fine-tuned the 1.6 TDI to give an extra 10bhp so it now serves up a respectable 114bhp – giving a 0-62mph sprint time of 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 124mph. Happily, more power comes hand-in-hand with improved running costs. Opt for an A1 in SE or Sport with a five-speed manual box and it will return claimed fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 80.7mpg and just 92g/km – meaning zero road tax. Go for the new seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox and it’ll return a still-impressive 76.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 97g/km.

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It’s the latter we got to grips with for the first time in the UK. The seven-speed box works well with the diesel unit, making swift changes and adding to the refined driving experience. There’s loads of power for easy overtaking and at any speed or revs, the cabin is a hushed place to be.

So it’s relaxing, but not exciting. Even after cycling through the different modes on offer in the now standard Audi Drive Select system, it’s clear that Audi has plumped for safe and predictable handling over anything too sporty – it still sits a distant second to the MINI’s more agile chassis and responsive controls.

This won’t worry most A1 buyers, though, as the old car’s attractive and well-built cabin remains with all trims – SE, Sport and S line – now gaining extra equipment. For example, collision brake assist is now standard across the range, while S line models now get xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights thrown in.

Prices range from £15,390 to £18,905 for the 1.6 TDI, but while the seven-speed box makes the A1 a relaxing car to drive, we’d stick with the slick manual ‘box and save ourselves £1,540.


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