Audi A1, a compact premium hatchback

Hugh Maguire: on the new Audi A1 Sportback

Audi A1, a compact premium hatchback

It would seem that buyers of premium brand cars like what Audi are producing these days and Irish buyers are voting with their wallets as more and more choose an Audi over a BMW, Mercedes or Volvo.

So with this in mind I have been road testing the all new Audi A1 Sportback (5-door hatchback).

Prices for the new A1 start at €25,450 but quickly rise as you get tempted by the options packs available and higher than basic trim levels.

Has it any street cred?

This is a very stylish compact Sportback. Borrowing from the original Sport Quattro rally car the style of the new A1works very well with that distinctive Audi family face with deep set front grille and LED daytime running lights.

It certainly looks a premium product and has a very appealing sporty style.

What’s it like inside?

The cabin looks and feels very good indeed. The quality of everything immediately impresses.

It is so good you could be sitting in an A6 or A8, Audi did not cut corners where quality is concerned unlike some rivals whose small cars do not feel up to the quality of their larger stablemates.

I like the fact that the centre console which includes a very good high resolution 10.25 inch touchscreen is angled towards the driver and the new A1 comes with Audi’s impressive digital cockpit.

The S-Line model tested is very highly specified and boasts all the creature comforts you might only expect to get in something like an A6. My A1 was fitted with so many options I simply cannot list them all here, but the price tag of those options came to a staggering €11,130 so you see what I mean when I say the purchase price rises rapidly as you tick the options box!

What’s under the bonnet?

My test car was powered by the well tried and tested 1.0 TFSI petrol power plant from the VAG group.

Mated to a very slick 6-speed manual gearbox the combination works very well indeed.

Producing 116 bhp this 1.0 turbo petrol is a nice fit for the A1 endowing it with good performance, a rather nice sound from that 3 cylinder and a decent level of performance.

Road tax for the year is €200 and over some 600km of testing to proved economical too.

Will I enjoy driving it?

The new A1 Sportback feels like a much larger car around you than its external dimensions would suggest.

It handles very well and rides our roads with an impressive degree of comfort and refinement let down only by a degree of tyre road from more coarse tarmac surfaces.

I really enjoyed the way it drives. It feels sporty and a bit more interesting than your average 5-door hatchback.

Verdict

I would have to give he Audi A1 top marks for quality and style. You can drive this compact Golf sized car yet sitting inside the specification (on the S-Line tested) and quality would lead you to believe you are behind the wheel of one of Audi’s larger more expensive models. As I mentioned at the beginning of my review prices start at a shade over €25,000.

My test car was the S-Line version which kicks off at €28,900. However when you include the options fitted to my test car the price rose rapidly to a whopping €40,300. So the message here is clear. Be very selective when you are ticking the “optional equipment “ part of the car build menu as frankly €40,000 plus for a car in this class is nuts. However at its entry price plus some judiciously selected options you will have an absolutely superb, high quality, 5-door sport back!