In truth, pretty much the same as the regular A1, and that’s not a bad thing. After spending a lot of time with the 114bhp 1.0-litre petrol (badged 30 TFSI), we feel it’s the best fit for the A1.
It’s a punchy engine that has enough low-down grunt to accelerate you up to city speeds in a trice, and also has the legs to cruise at motorway speeds without trouble. The automatic gearbox fitted to our test Citycarver had very little of the hesitation that some other Audi models with an automatic gearbox exhibit when you’re trying to set off in a hurry.
The A1 Citycarver weighs about 40kgs more than an equivalent A1 but that has no discernible effect on its performance. You’d be hard pushed to detect that the 0-62mph time is a few tenths slower than a regular A1 30 TFSI because the difference is less than the time it takes you to blink.
The extra ride height hasn’t made much difference to the ride quality, but that’s a positive because it was already among the class best alongside the VW Polo. All A1 Citycarvers thankfully miss out on the firm suspension fitted to S Line models of the regular A1, so most bumps and road imperfections are pleasingly smothered. Bigger bumps, such as sleeping policemen, are efficiently absorbed by the extra suspension travel, making the Citycarver more comfortable than a Mini.
A slight drawback of the extra travel of the Citycarver's suspension is that there's more body lean in corners than in the regular A1, but it's still an accomplished car to drive overall. You’ll enjoy its tenacious grip and accurate, direct steering, which lets you place the car on the road with confidence. And, even though the steering transmits little info as to exactly what the front wheels are doing, it’s at least light enough to make city maneuvers super easy.
Inside, there is nothing that tells you you’re driving a Citycarver compared to a regular A1, apart from a slightly raised driving position. You also get the same responsive, easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system as the regular A1; it's much better than the system you'll find in a Ford Fiesta Active.
Passenger space is good by class standards, so, even if you’re over six-feet tall, you’ll fit in the front of the Citycarver comfortably. It’s not quite as spacious for tall passengers in the back, but still offers more room than a Mini. You also get a boot that's decent in both shape and size, but that ultimately can’t match a Honda Jazz for outright luggage capacity.