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Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

Here, more than anywhere, the Audi A1 needs to live up to its positioning as a high-end product and, in most respects, it does. The main switchgear is recognisable from other Audis (no bad thing), and in general there is an aura of solidity that befits the four-ring badge. Our initial review car came equipped with nearly £5000 worth of optional equipment, which is bound to add a sheen of luxury. However, even an entry-level model feels plusher than the average supermini.

When viewed from the driver’s seat forwards, the cabin generates an upmarket impression. The A1’s air vents are neat and the cabin layout is cleaner than that of larger Audis. It says something about the perceived quality that it would be no surprise if many elements of the A1’s interior filtered up the Audi range in future.

The A1's interior feels upmarket, but tread carefully with the options lists - costs can creep up quickly

Look other than forwards, however, and the A1 feels much like a conventional supermini. The rear seats are big enough for average-sized passengers, but you’d find at least as much in most superminis.

The boot is equally average. Luggage capacity of 270 litres with the seats up is less than that of the Ford Fiesta (292 litres) and the Nissan Micra (300 litres), and way behind the new Seat Ibiza with its 355 litres of boot space, although it significantly betters the Mini’s rather apologetic 160 litres. Unfortunately, the five-door Sportback offers no more luggage space, its boot capacity being identical to the three-door's.

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Even refinement falls into the ‘good but not exceptional’ category, with tyre noise frequently causing a notable background hum. But most buyers will care more about the sensation the A1 offers from the driver’s seat, and although it successfully manages to feel like a miniature Audi A4, it lacks the outrageous, brazen look of the Mini. 

None of which has stopped buyers from flocking to a 'four-ring' dealership. If you are one planning to follow suit, then there are four core trims to choose from and a dedicated one for the S1. Entry-level SE models come with 15in alloy wheels, halogen headlights, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, cruise control and rear parking sensors as standard, while inside there are manually adjustable front seats, air conditioning, and front floor mats. Dominating the dashboard is Audi's MMI infotainment system, complete with a 6.5in pop-up display, DAB radio and SD card reader.

Upgrade to Sport and the A1 is adorned with 16in alloy wheels, firmer suspension, front foglights, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity, while opting for S line adds 17in alloys, sports suspension, xenon headlights, LED rear lights, front sports seats, an aggressively styled body kit and LED ambient interior lighting to a fully loaded package. Black Edition models get 18in alloys, a gloss black exterior trim, climate control, automatic lights and wipers, and a leather and Alcantara upholstery.

S1 buyers will be pleased to see their car get all the equipment of the Sport trim plus Audi Sport developed sports suspension with adjustable dampers, steering rack and quattro system. There's also an aggressive bodykit, a quad-pipe exhaust system, and lots of S1 badging.