Our first look at the Audi A1, of a fashion, was as the Metroproject Quattro concept at the Tokyo motor show in 2007, and it’s a credit to Audi’s design studio that it made it through to production virtually unscathed. Even debadged, it would be recognisable as not just the son of Metroproject but also the product of Audi, and trademark signatures like LED running lights abound.

Beneath the uniquely Audi exterior lines, meanwhile, lies something altogether more familiar. The VW Group is the master of sharing platforms and architecture, but never before has quite such a brazen attempt been made to justify the price of an Audi that uses the same underpinnings as a Seat Ibiza.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
The A1 has made production virtually unchanged from the Metroproject Quattro concept car

The A1’s wrap-over bonnet looks noticeably large against the A1’s short wheelbase but it links the A1 to Audi’s sporting models, the TT and R8. The grille marks a departure from the traditional trapezoidal Audi shape, with an additional side introduced in each of the top two corners.  

This contrasting roof line is a relatively cheap option and comes in four different colours, depending on the main body colour. Polished tailpipes, along with front foglights, help identify Sport models. S-line trim adds significantly to the price, but adds revised front and rear valances and a roof spoiler.

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The battery is placed in the boot to improve weight distribution, but it means there is no room for a spare tyre. There is, however, a little extra storage space for small items under the boot floor around the battery.

Lift the large tailgate and you’ll find additional rear light lenses. They’re fitted to ensure that the A1 can be seen at night when the tailgate is up.

Numerous changes were made to the A1 during its mid-life facelift, chiefly the addition of a new grille, bumpers and headlights, alongside a new electric power steering system and adaptive dampers. However, the biggest news was the quiet removal of the entry-level 1.2-litre engine, for an all-new turbocharged, 1.0-litre, three-cylinder TFSI unit which produces 94bhp, only 99g of CO2 and the ability to do over 60mpg.

The rest of the engine range is made of two tunes of the 1.4 TFSI engine producing 123bhp and 148bhp respectively, while promising fuel returns of 55.4mpg and 56.5mpg respectively too. The only diesel available is an 114bhp, four-cylinder, 1.6 TDI version, while topping the range is the ferocious 227bhp 2.0 TFSI unit which powers the S1 and can propel it to 62mph from a standstill in 5.8sec and onto 155mph.

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