Road Test: Audi A1 Sportback 1.6 TDI S line
Sector: Small car Price: £19,180 Fuel: 74.3mpg CO2: 99g/km
As Audi has inexorably expanded its line-up, it has ensured there are cars covering virtually every niche possible. But it wasn’t until the A1 family arrived that it finally offered a car for almost every taste.
The A1 has an important job to do as it serves as the first taste of what the manufacturer hopes will be a lifetime of people ticking the Audi box on the company car choice list.
This is an impressive entry into the Audi family, offering the key cornerstones of the brand’s philosophy in a cute little package. All the Audi essentials are in place: the familiar family look outside, great interior both in terms of build and packaging, and a multitude of trim, engine and gearbox options.
Unfortunately that other Audi trait – a very hard ride in sporty models – is also present. Our test car was in S line trim and fitted with optional 18-inch alloy wheels – it looked great standing still with its big wheels bulging out of the car’s diminutive arches, but on uneven road surfaces it was pretty uncomfortable.
Under the bonnet was the familiar 1.6 TDI diesel engine offering 105bhp. In the A1 this offers impressive claimed fuel economy of more than 74mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km. Performance is adequate but one downside is that it is quite noisy, especially at start-up.
While the A1 Sportback has plenty to recommend it, I don’t think that this particular model is the best example in the range. Go for a petrol engine (the 1.2 TFSI unit is a cracking little engine from my experience of it in the Golf) and go for slightly softer Sport trim and you’ve probably found the A1 sweet spot. And at a smidgeon over £16,500 it makes a lot more financial sense than this pricey diesel, too.