Since its introduction to the range back in 2010, the Audi A1 has been a popular option in the premium hatchback and has been a key rival to the Mini Hatch.
But now the German brand has full revamped the supermini for 2019, which includes putting it on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform and giving it a sporty design that is a major change from the curvier look of the previous generation.
With models like the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza proving to be excellent choices that are also based on the MQB chassis, the A1 has all the attributes of a really good hatchback.
But can the second generation version impress as much as its predecessor and be a worthy option in the premium compact market? We take a look…
In the UK, the A1 will be offered exclusively with three petrol options – a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder unit developing 115bhp, the mid-level 1.5-litre, four-cylinder 148bhp engine and the top-spec 2.0-litre unit that develops 197bhp (picked straight from the VW Polo GTI). We tried the lower-powered option, which develops 200Nm of torque and is paired to a six-speed manual transmission.
With this powertrain combination, the Audi A1 can go from 0-60mph in 9.3 seconds and reach 126mph – and although it may not be the fastest engine available to the hatchback, it is a very good unit that suits the car very well. Drivers can choose to spec a seven-speed automatic with the two lowest level engines, while the 2.0-litre option is only available with the auto.
Ride & Handling
Unsurprisingly, the A1 handles much like the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza it shares a platform with. It has well-weighted steering and it feels like a premium car to drive as there is limited transfer of bumps and ruts on the road into the cockpit. It also has a much sportier ride setup than you might expect, which means larger imperfections in the tarmac can come through.
The Mini Hatch and Ford Fiesta feel more fun to drive as the handling is much sweeter and both feel more exciting to be behind the wheel of. The A1 has a much more relaxed way to how it drives, but doesn’t feel as cossetted as you might expect. Driving enthusiasts who like the way the new A1 looks may have to wait for an ‘S’ version to get a more dynamic experience.See Available A1 Deals
Interior & Equipment
Interior space is much improved as you now get 335 litres of boot space and a set of very comfortable seats that are easily adjustable, even on the most basic models. Although superminis will never offer the best passenger space, the A1 provides enough rear legroom for adults, and with only five-door options available, getting in the back won’t be too difficult.
Standard features are also excellent, as you get digital instrumentation and a large touchscreen infotainment system. The Virtual Cockpit 12-inch instrument display can be fitted as an optional extra, as well as a larger central touchscreen, but all the controls surrounding them are well laid out.
The finish of the cabin is a bit of a let-down though, as you will find cheaper-feeling plastic than you might expect and the door pockets feel hollow and not well made. This is surprising from a company like Audi who usually has its act together on this sort of thing.
On the Sport model we tried, the A1 was also fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, sport seats, rear parking sensors and cruise control – while the top-spec S line models come with LED interior lighting, sports suspension and leather upholstery.
To match up to its rivals, the 2019 A1 starts from £18,540, which gets you the base-spec SE model with the launch spec 30 TFSI engine we tried. In the Sport specification we tested, the A1 cost £23,010 as it also included multiple extras, such as heated seats, the Virtual Cockpit display and the top-end Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Depending on the size of the alloy wheels you get, the A1 can achieve 58.9mpg and 108g/km CO2, which for a petrol engine is not bad at all.
Despite it being at the higher end of the supermini spectrum and the interior finish not as up to scratch as we would hope, the A1 is a very capable car. It is well-behaved on the move and doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary – as you would expect from a VW Group model – while also having sharp and sporty looks that are likely to prove popular amongst the masses. Offering good amounts of space and top-level equipment, the A1 should be near the top of most people’s shopping lists if they’re after a quality supermini.Enquire now on a new A1