In-depth reviews

Audi A1 review - Engines, performance and drive

A smooth ride, with crisp handling and exceptional refinement make the Audi A1 a pleasure to drive

The Audi A1 is very well resolved car to drive, and it copes well with the rigours of the UK’s desperately tired and potholed tarmac. At least the smaller-wheeled versions ride with a pleasing degree of compliance, but we’d recommend test driving the 18-inch options before you buy.

Some customers are likely to find the additional harshness they introduce to proceedings disappointing, although others will consider it a worthwhile trade-off for the extra style of the bigger wheels. The sports suspension set-up of the 2.0 TFSI is harsher too, to the extent that passengers may find longer journeys a bit of a chore.

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Steering is accurate and well weighted, and in standard guise the A1 resists excessive body roll effectively although it isn’t as responsive as the Ford Fiesta or MINI, both of which are more entertaining for the engaged driver. The A1 wins out for refinement though, as it feels as hushed as a premium saloon car two classes up.

The seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch auto works very smoothly, and is likely to appeal more to most customers than the manual which is ever so slightly notchy in operation. The bigger 2.0 engine comes with an old-school six-speed auto which occasionally feels a little sluggardly on kickdown.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

With 114bhp under the bonnet, the 1.0-litre 30 TFSI models can do 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds – although high gearing means it doesn’t feel quite as fast as it might from the driver’s seat. Top speed is 126mph.

The 25 TFSI has 94bhp, and the 1.5-litre 35 TFSI will be 148bhp. The 2.0-litre 40 TFSI has a punchy 197bhp and will do 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. The car is let down by the lethargic feel of its auto box and it also comes with a system to play fake engine noises through the audio speakers, in a manner that we find a little unconvincing.


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