From £13,420
The smaller-capacity engine makes sense, the S Line suspension less so

Our Verdict

Audi A1

The A1 is a stylish, high quality and competent supermini, if a little expensive, but does it have the edge over the Mini hatch, Seat Ibiza and the Ford Fiesta?

20 February 2011

What is it?

This is our first chance to try the A1 with the smallest-capacity engine and least power – and also our initial exposure to the 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 VW’s 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

Comments
20

8 March 2011

A turbocharged petrol engine with just 85 bhp is something quite odd, especially when you have to pay £ 17,000

8 March 2011

I only recently spotted an A1.My God its very small and dinky and way overpriced.why have one over a Polo unless of course you are a badge snob!!

8 March 2011

What's with the pricing structure? Saving £140 over the 1.4tsi? VAG group seems all over the place - for example the 1.2tsi 85bhp is cheaper than the 1.2tsi 105 in the Fabia, then the 105 1.2tsi is cheaper than the 1.4tsi in the Octavia. This is the way things should be. The A1 and Polo ranges are completely screwed up (no 85bhp 1.2 in the Polo, no diesel in the Polo below the top of the range 90bhp - so also no 105bhp).

In summary - for £17k I'd buy almost everything but this over-priced, over-styled heap of under-engineered crap.

8 March 2011

11.7 secs to 60 is slow.

85BHP from that of engine is really poor

You'll never get anywhere near the 55mpg, with such a small amount of power, it'll be caned to get moving and economy will suffer

"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" Which means the ride is harsh, but its an Audi, so acceptable to Autocar.

I'd buy a Mito Muli-Air and save even more money.

Audi, spend a lot, live little

8 March 2011

[quote theonlydt] The A1 and Polo ranges are completely screwed up (no 85bhp 1.2 in the Polo, no diesel in the Polo below the top of the range 90bhp - so also no 105bhp).[/quote] Last time I looked there was a 1.2 three cylinder diesel in the Polo with 75 hp.

8 March 2011

[quote Richard H]Which means the ride is harsh, but its an Audi, so acceptable to Autocar.[/quote]

I'd say the opposite, Autocar are total ride quality evangelists and are overly critical of Audi ride quality nouances.

I experienced a couple of S line Audis last year and didn't know what all the fuss about. I was waiting for the appalling ride quality, it never appeared. Total myth...


8 March 2011

[quote theonlydt]

In summary - for £17k I'd buy almost everything but this over-priced, over-styled heap of under-engineered crap

[/quote]

+1

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

9 March 2011

I test drove a 1.2 tsi A1 a few months ago and to be honest I thought it was rather gutless at low revs. I'm used to driving a 1.4 MINI so I'm hardly comparing it to a performance machine, but all the reviews of this engine I've read so far seem to rate it much more highly than I did.

9 March 2011

I would rather have a 93bhp 1.2-litre Suzuki Swift, especially if they do bring in the 4 wheel drive version for £13-£14K as reported elsewhere here, be a lot more fun.

Haha! can you imagine how much an A1 Quattro would cost?

9 March 2011

[quote bomb]I experienced a couple of S line Audis last year and didn't know what all the fuss about. I was waiting for the appalling ride quality, it never appeared. Total myth...
[/quote]

I think there is a huge difference between what I presume is a short ride and 3 years of ownership. I had one, and after 3 hours of driving round/through London it made you grateful for a comfy chair. The ride was at times bordering on harsh and at best acceptable, but never pliant or cushioning. Long distance trips were ruined by the poor surfaces of our A and B roads, and it was a shame that this 'sports-tuned' composure was not transferred to the handling department. In the end it just made for a very tiring drive. My 159 which replaced it was legions ahead in terms of a long distance shrinker.

Getting back on topic, can we just revisit those stats? Price: £16,805; Top speed: 112mph; 0-62mph: 11.7sec; Economy: 55.4mpg; CO2: 118g/km; Kerb weight: 1040kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1197cc,

£17k for a supermini with a 1.2 engine and 0-60 of nearly 12 seconds? Why would you be even tempted by one? And that's before you add another £3k from the options list.

That makes it considerably more than 500, MiTo, Mini, DS3.

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