reset
Viewed : 5,847 times

Recommended Articles

The second generation Audi A1 supermini delivers sharper looks, improved practicality and enhanced daily usability.

25 Mar 2020


The Audi A1 Sportback has always been a curious little compact hatchback. While it is certainly the most affordable entry into the world of Audi luxury, the model's petite size and three-door packaging meant that it was never really a very popular choice among buyers (a five-door variant was later added). After all, you don't really associate the Audi brand with superminis.

Now, the second generation A1 Sportback has arrived. Should you give it a chance? 

Wait, it's just a Volkswagen Polo, no? 

The new Audi A1 Sportback is a stylish and sleek-looking supermini
The Audi A1 Sportback is built on the same MQB-A0 platform as the Volkswagen Polo, as well other Group siblings like the Seat Ibiza and the Skoda Scala.

Is it simply a rebodied Polo, though? Well, not technically. The modular nature of the platform means that this car's wheelbase is only exactly the same as the Ibiza.

And, of course, the styling sets it apart. It's purposely aggressive, with all manner of sporty flourishes like the wide, low-placed Singleframe grille, and the three flat slits under the bonnet that pays homage to the Ur-quattro. The car is generally quite pleasing to look at, but all the Ur-quattro homage touches feel superfluous.

The 10.1-inch infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay, useful if you are the sort who depends on navigation to get around
It's a curious hodgepodge inside - you get high-tech equipment like the Virtual Cockpit, a pleasing 10.1-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay connectivity and 30 ambient lighting colour choices, but at the same time there are also curiously low-tech components like the manually adjusted seats, manual handbrake and an actual keyhole that you use an actual key to turn on the car.

There are utilitarian buttons and controls on the centre console, but also funky door handles and bright yellow accents around the driver-side air-con vents. The sleek digital surfaces are flanked by tacky-feeling plastics.

Bright yellow accents add a sense of youthful exuberance to the cabin
All that adds up to a confusing, sort-of-luxurious cabin. Its mix of sensible styling and quirky detailing won't be for everyone, we reckon. It's thankfully all put together with tip-top German precision. 

The A1 Sportback does deliver surprising practicality, though. With a longer wheelbase and overall length than before, there's more space for occupants and luggage. The rear will fit two adults comfortably (three at a squeeze), and the 335-litre boot is quite generous for a supermini.

Is it any fun to drive? 

The turbocharged 1.0-litre engine pumps out its 114bhp and 200Nm of torque with eager verve
One aspect about the A1 Sportback that impresses is the way it drives. The car is certainly light on its feet. With just 1,125kg to haul, the car's turbocharged 1.0-litre engine never feels really short on power. It's an easy-going and cheerful little car that is still capable of a burst of speed when you need. 

The gearbox leans towards efficiency, so it's sometimes reluctant to drop to a lower gear when you want to accelerate. This does dull the sensation of performance slightly. Of course, this is easily resolved by flicking the gearbox into S or manually choosing gears using the paddles shifters, or just choosnig Dynamic mode on the Drive Select. Do that, and the car is plenty quick. It accelerates eagerly, allowing you to overtake other vehicles with ease.  

The A1 Sportback handles corner carving duties with confidence
Handling is good, if unspectacular. Steering is precise, direction changes sharp and agile, and driving the car hard is rewarding. Is it more fun to drive than a MINI? No, it's not.

Where it is definitely better than a MINI is the way it settles down. It's comfortable over long drives, and never feels nervous. The light steering also makes it effortlessly easy to navigate small carparks or tight lanes, and well as to negotiate CBD traffic. 

A city slickster, then? 

The 335-litre boot makes the A1 Sportback practical for small families
The new A1 Sportback is a functionally good supermini. It looks good, drives well, delivers more practicality than you'd think, and delivers enough premium touches to approximate a luxury experience. If you needed an easy to drive and simple to use everyday luxury supermini, the A1 Sportback fits the bill.

There is one major problem with the new A1 Sportback - the price. At $131,055 for this Advanced variant, it's a tad too expensive. Consider this - the bigger (but admittedly older) A3 Sportback is just a few grand more.

The car also doesn't feel significantly more premium or special compared to its Group brethren to warrant the significant price difference (the base Polo is under 90 grand, or around 30% cheaper).

The A1 Sportback delivers quirky aesthetics, a composed ride and is easy to use every day, but its high pricetag will be tough to overcome
You can also buy a MINI Cooper 5-Door for basically the same money. In our opinion, the MINI is more premium and high quality, and delivers a greater feel-good factor. Outright performance? A Skoda Octavia RS 245, which will set you back $129,900.

So, the second generation Audi A1 Sportback once again finds itself in a difficult position. While there's no denying the inherent appeal of the Audi A1 Sportback, its pricing and keen competition make it a tough sell within the supermini segment.
  • Email
Read more Car Reviews

Car Information

spacer

Price

: $131,055

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

999cc

Horsepower

:

85kW (114 bhp) / 5500 rpm

Torque

:

200 Nm / 3500 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DCT

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

9.4sec

Top Speed

:

203km/h

Fuel consumption

:

18.5 km/L

You may also like

1-10 of 20