★★★ | Audi’s A1 Sportback S line
What Have We Got?
Here we have Audi’s A1 Sportback S line. This model sits around the middle of the 6 car line up. It’s suitably dressed to impress but did it impress us at THEGAYUK?
With looks to kill, you’d expect the A1 S line to be fun and entertaining to drive. Thankfully it doesn’t fail to deliver in this department despite its diminutive turbocharged petrol power unit of 999cc. Power figures suggest mediocre outputs of performance. The good news is that the 116PS at over 5000rpm and torque of 147.5 lb-ft is far better than adequate. Developed low down, it will hustle along quite briskly. Yet, despite its revvy nature, it won’t allow redlining in any gear. Changes are done by 6200rpm.
Those changes are carried out by a much improved DSG gearbox. Now it is able to deliver crawling take up without snatching as smoothly as it does changing up at speed.
Steering is communicative to a degree, there’s also some muted feedback, though a little more would be better and the brakes, standard silver, no bright shouting red Brembo callipers, pull the A1 up briskly.
It’s a mixture of good and bad. The dashboard is logical and the facia panel is adaptable for maps, big dials or info. It works well and it’s surrounded by blue neons that carry on into the doors. It’s just a shame then that this isn’t carried on around the vents on the passengers’ side and the rear doors are totally void of any fancy architecture, except for a light by the door handle.
Seats are also a mixture of good and bad. While they hug you in place during spirited driving, the seat base is very firm and despite several manual controls for the adjustments, lumber adjuster is both awkward to implement and even worse to gauge the amount such is the position of the handle.
Living With It
It’s a practical car. It has 4 doors and a wide opening hatch at the rear. It’s not the most spacious in its class but it will do all that is asked of it.
You won’t lose face when it comes to the carpark beauty pageant. The A1 has good looks on its side and if the badge is important, you have Audi prestige. And it does what it does well. The ride is more than acceptable and thankfully it is entertaining and the handling is fun.
There is just one snag.
There is a lot to like about the A1. Showroom and kerbside appeal will impress you and those who admire it from the outside. The nice touches that you expect from Audi are there in some places too but not everywhere. The silver trim across the facia is cheap to look at and cheaper to feel.
And I get that Audi is a premium brand. With the A1 starting at £17,700, it’s just that I find this S line model with all the options this car has, hard to swallow at £70 shy of £30k. That’s a lot of money for a small car.
Facia neon illuminations
Peppy 1 litre engine
Boring rear door trim
Firm seat base and awkward lumber lever
Car – Audi A1 Sportback 30 TFSI 115PS S Line S Tronic
Price – £ 29,930 (as tested)
MPG – 47 mpg (combined)
Power – 116PS
0-62mph – 9.4 seconds
Top Speed – 126 mph
Co2 – 108 (g/km)