Written by Hejab Azam
3 June, 2019
The second-generation Audi A1 is a compact 5-door Sportback and direct rival to the Mini Hatchback. If you’re looking for a family car, with a more premium badge, then the Audi A1 is perfect for you. The A1 is the smallest of the Audi cars, and is essentially based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Polo, albeit more sophisticated. It now only comes with 5 doors which makes it more practical and spacious than the previous 3 door version. Some of its cheaper and less premium rivals include the Fiat 500, Seat Ibiza, DS3 and Ford Fiesta.
The second-generation Audi A1 looks much more refined than its predecessor. It has a sportier look, from its sloping black roofline, to its sharp bold rear – giving it a slight crossover-esque look. There are soft creases around the sides to make the design more edgy and dynamic. The trademark Audi grille brings everything together, reminding us of the refined class of cars it belongs to. There are a range of trims to choose from, each adding an extra touch of finesse. There’s the SE, Sport, S line, S line Competition, S line Contrast Edition and S line Style Edition.
The SE comes with LED headlights, LED rear lights and dynamic rear indicators. You also get 15” alloy wheels with a 5-arm design. If you opt for the Sport trim, you get 16” turbine design alloy wheels. The S line comes with 17-inch twin-spoke design alloy wheels whereas the S line competition has 17” 5-spoke alloy wheels. Darkened LED headlights and 18” 7-spoke rotor design alloy wheels are available on the S line Contrast Edition. And if you really want to make a statement, you could opt for the highest spec – the S line Style edition which has 18” 5 spoke Y design alloy wheels in bronze!
There are four engines – two three-cylinder and two four-cylinder, all of which are petrol. The range starts with a 1.0 litre with 94bhp – the 25 TFSI. There’s also the 30 TFSI version with 114bhp. If you’re looking for something that feels more like the Mini, you might want to look into the 35 TFSI – the four-cylinder 1.5 litre with 147bhp, or the 40 TFSI – the four-cylinder 2.0 litre with 197 bhp.
The Audi A1 feels considerably calmer than the Mini. You can feel little vibration and it’s quiet on the road. Depending on which trim you go for, your journey can be even smoother with its various packages. For example, the SE and Sport trims come with standard Dynamic suspension which help smooth over bumps on the road. The three-cylinder petrol engines make slight noise, but it’s not unpleasant. However, the smoothest of the A1s are the four-cylinder engines.
The steering is light and crisp, which makes it perfect around the city. On more narrow and twisty roads, the Audi A1 leans slightly, however its good grip ensures you can drive with ease and confidence.
The Audi A1 has fairly low CO2 emissions. For example, the 30 TFSI emits 111g/km of CO2. The Benefit in Kind rate for this derivative is 26% for the first year which makes it great for company car buyers. To compare BIK rates, take a look at our BIK tax calculator.
The interior of the Audi A1 is more sophisticated than its less premium alternatives. The dashboard has high quality switches for its aircon and heating – making it more functional and practical than touch sensitive buttons. The black gloss trims around the dashboard, complimented by soft-touch materials spruce up the overall look and feel. The upholstery differs depending on which trim you go for. Materials range from Audi’s Delta cloth to Leatherette, and the highest spec comes with Twin Leather front sport seats.
When it comes to the infotainment, you get an 8.8-inch touchscreen as standard, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth and DAB radio. This allows you to seamlessly connect your phone and use your media. For the latest tech, you could upgrade with a Technology Pack which includes a 10.1-inch screen, a handwriting pad, built-in sat-nav, wireless phone charging and a 36-month subscription to Audi Connect. Audi Connect brings you online features such as email, Google Earth and news.
A great six-speaker sound system comes as standard. But if you want even better amplification, you can upgrade to the Comfort and Sound pack which will give you a 560 watt, 11-speaker Bang & Olufsen system.
To help you get into tight parking spots, and make driving easier, you can add optional front parking sensors and rear-view camera.
The front of the Audi A1 is spacious with good headroom and enough legroom for a six-footer. The back is considerably more spacious than a Mini and can fit in 3 passengers. You could fit in a couple of six-footers in the back, however, there may be some knee rubbing on the seatbacks. Nevertheless, for everyday family use, the Audi A1 is spacious enough.
There’s plenty of storage space with good sized door bins, cupholders, a generous glovebox and storage space for your phone. The boot is sizeable and can fit up to five carry-on suitcases. Although this is just a little less than what the Seat Ibiza can fit, it’s more than the Mini which can only fit four.
The seat and wheel are well aligned with adjustable height to fine tune your driving position. For more comfort, the Sport trim offers adjustable manual lumbar support.