When the original A1 joined the supermini gaggle in 2010, it set new benchmarks for perceived quality, powertrain refinement and all-round desirability. The second-gen car tries to build on those attributes, taking design cues from more rarefied Audi models and pairing them with an interior that delivers the initial wow factor expected of a city car that costs more than many a full-sized family hatchback.

Those who find a Mini too whimsical and a Polo too staid will therefore be drawn to this week’s road test subject, where they’ll find a powertrain of impressive efficiency and refinement, and a responsive chassis with deep reserves of composure, if not much in the way of involvement.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Luxury supermini lacks the polish to justify its high price

What they won’t discover is the degree of ride comfort we’d expect of the segment’s luxury player, at least if the car is fitted with optional Sports suspension. Such busyness underwheel undermines the A1’s credentials as both an easy-going city car and as a car in which to cover longer distances.

Some questionable interior plastics and overly long gearing that neuters the smooth-spinning TFSI engine are further frustrations that prevent this junior Audi from taking class honours.

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