From £13,420
A bigger engine does not necessarily mean better in the most potent diesel-equipped Audi A1

What is it?

The Audi A1 typifies the current market trend for ‘premium downsizing’, small cars offering many of the luxuries of their much larger siblings in a more compact package. But the premium downsizing trend in this latest version of the A1 only applies from the engine bay backwards, as over the front wheels sits a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine.

This 141bhp oil-burner is anything but downsized, and offers a set of big car performance figures as a result. It can crack 0-62mph in 8.2sec and reach a top speed of 135mph, but at the same time it offers small car economy figures of 68.9mpg and 108g/km.

What’s it like?

Great on paper, at least. Shame this doesn’t really transfer to an impressive drive. One of the great appeals of smaller-engined A1s is the way they blend peppy performance with agile handling. While the 2.0 TDI’s 236lb ft peak torque makes this A1 undeniably quick in a straight line, its significant trade-off is an increased kerb weight that harms the ride, handling and steering.

At 1190kg, the A1 is 150kg heavier than the entry-level 1.2 TFSI petrol model, and it shows. The turn in is not as sharp, which makes the steering feel fairly lifeless.

The primary ride of A1s equipped with the firm Sport chassis settings (as our test car was) is known for being vertically agitated over bumps at motorway speeds, but this feeling is only amplified in the 2.0 TDI due to its extra weight. Thankfully, the secondary ride doesn’t suffer as badly, something partly helped by the 16in alloys of our test car.

Of course, the engine doesn’t impact on some of our favourite things about the A1. Interior quality is as good as ever, and the six-speed manual gearbox is as slick as they come. Economy well into the 50s is also easily achievable even when driven hard.

Should I buy one?

Only if you feel your A1 is getting left behind on your frequent drives on unrestricted sections on the Autobahn. The A1 2.0 TDI has such niche appeal, that’s it’s hard to think of any other scenario where you wouldn’t buy the 1.6 TDI instead.

Take away the Sport trim, and you can have a 1.6 TDI in SE spec from £14,480. Economy and CO2 are both better in this model, too, at 74.3mpg and 99g/km respectively. Choosing which diesel A1 to buy is as easy a decision as it sounds.

Audi A1 2.0 TDI Sport

Price: £17,945; Top speed: 135mph; 0-62mph: 8.2sec; Economy: 68.9mpg combined; CO2: 108g/km; Kerb weight: 1190kg; Engine: 4cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power: 141bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6spd manual

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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moe360 3 March 2012

Re: Audi A1 2.0 TDI Sport

Fidji wrote:

My PSN username is GRANTURISMO1000 (I used it mainly to play the prologue when it came out, and surprisingly 'Granturismo' was already taken! My username was one of the ones recommended at the side!

Could you let me know what yours is so I don't end up adding a stranger please? ;-)

My PSN name is moaudi fidji i will add you at some point today, sorry for super late reply I have been so busy this week first time I logged on this week !

Fidji wrote:
Already at the excuses...

Ha ! dont worry I will still kick your butt ! gaming is in my blood !

moe360 26 February 2012

Re: Audi A1 2.0 TDI Sport

Fidji wrote:
We'll have to do that! I don't know if you can get our cars on there, but I've got a pre-facelift C63AMG saloon! I've also got an SLS, so you can grab an R8 (I bet I could cream you if you had either the V8 or V10) so we could settle that score as well

Whats your PSN add fidji ? let me know what it is so I can add you to my friends list and then we can race online.

Just to let you know I have not played GT5 for over a year, been busy with other games and playing Crysis 2 at the moment so you will probley win lol

but i can give it a go !

moe360 26 February 2012

Re: Audi A1 2.0 TDI Sport

Fidji wrote:
I stand corrected, Stevie. The concept (A1 Quattro) was 4WD, but the production version of the 185bhp is FWD.

Oh no this is bad news, now your merc will win easy Fidji ! lol

I will have to get something else now for our race.