Car review: Audi A1 1.6 TDI Sport

The Audi A1 1.6 TDI Sport reminds me a bit of when we were younger and we’d put empty crisp packets into the oven to shrink them down to perfect miniature versions. It’s much like a bigger Audi, only er, smaller.

Audi A1 1.6 TDI Sport

Audi have also downsized the price (this is one of the cheapest Audi’s you can get), but it doesn’t feel like they cut corners to keep costs down. The lines are clean and confident, and it looks good from every angle. I particularly like front, and the Xenon Plus LED headlights are not only miles better than the usual bulbs, they give cars that showbizzy look, like lights around the dressing room mirror.

Continuing inside the overall finish and interior spec is up to the usual Audi high standard, it perhaps doesn’t quite have the bells and whistles you might find in the new Mini, but nothing is conspicuous by its absence. Sometimes less is more, and everything is intelligently laid out to hand, the seats are comfy and the stereo is loud and it doesn’t take long before the car moulds itself around you.

It’s not actually that small, if you have two young kids the A1 should be big enough for you until they at least hit puberty. By that time there is a good chance they probably won’t want to go anywhere in a car with you anyway. One thing to note is the backseats are very upright, I put a booster seat in and it was almost vertical, this might be an issue for younger children who are restless on longer journeys.

The boot is ok, but I’m not putting any money on it winning ‘Mafia Car of the Year 2012’.

Audi A1 1.6 TDI Sport Review

The word ‘diesel’ and ‘sporty’ don’t often go too well together, and the 1.6 diesel engine is not the raciest of the bunch. It’s slightly gruff sounding from a starting position and lacks the instant punch of a petrol version. For nipping around town the 1.2 and 1.4 petrol versions may be better suited, but on the motorway and the open road the diesel model will ravenously eat up the miles before you can say ‘Petrol Strike’.

Its fairly low ride and heavy-ish feel means it drives like it’s on rails and the steering is weighty, but supremely well measured.

The A1 is also excellent on paper. The VERY low 99 g/km C02 emissions figure, means there are road tax benefits and no congestion charge payable in London. Equally impressive is the 74.3mpg (64.2mpg urban 83.1mpg extra urban), something will save you a good amount of money over time, especially if you do a lot of mileage.

The 2.0 litre diesel engine’s emissions are only slightly less eco-friendly (108 g/km CO2), and the petrol versions (1.2 , 1.4 and 1.4 (7 speed S-tronic) are 118, 126, 122 respectively. Along with the start/stop system and other efficiency features the A1 passes every ‘green’ test with flying colours. Despite its smaller size the doors and whole frame of the car feels extremely thick, and it has the the top 5 star Euro NCAP crash test safety rating.

Speed wise travelling from 0-62mph takes 10.7seconds in the diesel and it has a top speed of 118mph, if speed is your thing the 1.4 TFSI S line does it in in a much quicker (7 seconds) and will reach 141mph.

The more expensive versions are pushing close to the price of an A3, especially if you go for the Sport Edition, with Air-con, Bluetooth / CD player, sporty seats, and part-leather upholstery. If you are on a tight budget then choosing the right car comes down to how much you like the optional extras, or whether you need that extra room.

Overall, the A1 is an ultra modern car designed to meet high expectations, and delivers in pretty much every area. As supermini’s go it certainly doesn’t suffer from small car syndrome.

Eight point 5 out of 10The A1 1.6 TDI Sport starts from £13,980 (OTR)
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