Those coming to the A1 from a larger Audi may be surprised that the cabin has no controls for altering the suspension or steering systems. However, it is offered in three set-ups, each trim level dictating wheel size, ride height and spring rates. The Sport model is not the most focused but sits, on firmness of suspension as well as price, between the SE and S-line.

In Sport form, it’s noticeably firmer than a regular supermini, particularly the related Polo. Thankfully, this does not translate into the disastrous ride quality that we have experienced with some sporting Audis. In terms of secondary ride, on the optional 17in alloy wheels fitted here, you’re always aware of the road surface but the response is more nuggety than crashy.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
In Sport form, the A1's noticeably firmer than a regular supermini

Audi’s choice of spring rates causes more concern in the primary ride, but only at motorway speeds, where the A1 Sport suffers a little vertical agitation over small ridges. Audi recently introduced the Dynamic set-up to the Sport models, softening off the suspension slightly. Whilst still firm and increasing body roll a fraction, it does offer better bump absorption than the regular Sport springs and dampers.

Of course, if comfort is a real concern, sticking with the standard 16-inch wheels would be advisable. With more forces working through it, over more challenging roads, the suspension does a better job of keeping the body movements in check. As such, Sport is our preferred trim level, but with the Dynamic suspension option.

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Given the commonality with other VW Group cars, arguably the A1’s biggest success is that it feels noticeably different from a Polo, Skoda Fabia or Seat Ibiza. The real achievement, though, is that the A1 is not simply different, but better. Rather than exhibiting a single dynamic behaviour, the A1 seemingly adapts its character to how and where it’s being driven.

The A1’s chassis also feels more accurate and responsive than its group siblings’ and, as a consequence, more fun. The cleverness, though, is that once on the motorway, the A1 swaps its small car feel for composed stability. Unless you glance behind at the limited rear seating, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were travelling in a car from the class above.

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