The smaller-capacity engine makes sense, the S Line suspension less so

What is it?

This is our first chance to try the Audi A1 with the smallest-capacity engine and least power – and also our initial exposure to the Audi A1’s S Line suspension in the UK.

For the avoidance of doubt, the 85bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine fitted to the A1 is not related to the 69bhp 1.2 used in the Volkswagen Volkswagen Polo. The Polo’s has three cylinders and is naturally aspirated, whereas the Audi’s has four cylinders and a turbocharger.

Although trading down from the 120bhp 1.4 A1 saves only £410, like for like (although you can get the 1.2 in entry SE spec, unlike the 1.4), a CO2 output of 118g/km means a benefit-in-kind rating five per cent lower and a £60 saving on road tax.

What's it like?

Whether you’ll miss the 1.4’s extra power depends on where you drive. In town the 1.2 is more than adequate; 118lb ft of torque is available from 1500rpm, so the A1 picks up keenly from low revs. And although the 1.2 is not quite as smooth as the 1.4, it doesn’t feel out of place matched to the A1’s surprisingly grown-up cabin. However, at higher speeds and higher revs, the smaller engine feels more restricted. It’s not exactly slow, but 0-62mph in 11.7sec isn’t brisk, either.

S Line trim, which costs £1545 more than Sport, adds sharper-looking bumpers, side skirts and a roof spoiler, plus 17in alloy wheels as standard and firmer suspension. Unlike in some other Audis, S Line suspension doesn’t mean a disastrous ride quality, but it is still stiffer than it needs to be – especially for the urban use that best suits the 1.2.

Should I buy one?

Yes. We like the A1 and for everything but regular motorway use the 1.2 is as good as any other, plus cheaper to buy and run. As to S line, the advice is try 'before you buy'.

Jamie Corstorphine

Audi A1 1.2 TFSI S Line

Price: £16,805; Top speed: 112mph; 0-62mph: 11.7sec; Economy: 55.4mpg; CO2: 118g/km; Kerb weight: 1040kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1197cc, turbo; Power: 85bhp at 4800rpm; Torque: 118lb ft at 1500-3500rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

Join the debate

Add a comment…
theonlydt 11 March 2011

Re: Audi A1 1.2 TFSI S Line

keeforelli wrote:
and THAT badge. Looking at price/value/size/engine power is pointless in this part of the market

Agreed - little can make you look more like an engorged, undersized man's part than basing a car purchase on THAT BADGE.

lukemedwayuk 11 March 2011

Re: Audi A1 1.2 TFSI S Line

Hmmm are we all finally beginning to see some sense? I remember making a similar post to this about the price of super mini's in general being £16K or above and if it wasn't for the technical barrier, I'd have been assassinated for making such a remark. In this economical climate, I don't see how people can afford to pay £16-18K on a super mini... Especially one that is supposed to be economical saving you money. It just defeats the object and renders the product useless in my opinion. I went to Audi and looked at the A1 S-Line and we worked out with basic options it was going to cost £300+/month for a 1.6tdi... lmfao!

BriMarsh 11 March 2011

Re: Audi A1 1.2 TFSI S Line

ischiaragazzo wrote:

Autocar wrote:
For the avoidance of doubt

Is that actually English?
Yes it is, widely used in my experience.