Audi A1 review - could this be the best hot hatch?

The smallest of the entire Audi lineup, the A1 is the brands ‘Super Mini’, and direct competition to the hugely popular MINI Hatchback, Volkswagen Polo or Ford Fiesta. It is worth the hype (and the money)? Let’s find out... 


What did we drive? 

  • Colour: Glacier White Metallic
  • Interior: Black pulse cloth/leatherette with silver stitching
  • Transmission: S Tronic 7-speed Automatic
  • Model Line: S-Line
  • Wheels: 17 inch 5-Spoke Alloy Wheels
  • Engine: 35 TFSI – 1.4 litre petrol
  • 0-62:  7.7s
  • Power: 150 PS

*Prices and model lines correct at the time of publication

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There are two manual gearboxes available; a 5-speed 1-litre Sport 25 TFSI that generates 95ps, and a 6-speed 30 TFSI that gives a nicer 116ps. In terms of automatics, there are four options available:

This one had a 1.4-litre petrol engine that delivered 150ps – which to put into perspective was the same power we were getting from the much larger and heavier Range Rover Evoque D150, so this one went like the clappers in comparison.


Design and Technology

The paintwork was Glacier White Metallic, which looked great, but you can get some really exciting paint options to make the car a bit more unique (depending on which model line you go for). Inside, we had sports seats in cloth/leatherette upholstery with silver stitching. The S Line gets us upgraded 17” alloy wheels, sports suspension and a sportier exterior styling pack with S Line badges.

There’s a bit of a sci-fi feel to the cockpit. It’s very angular and follows strong lines towards and away from the driver. This makes the driver feel very encompassed within the car, but potentially not so for the front passenger. The car looks sufficiently sporty, and Audi have done a good job of making the car feel very high quality, even as the smallest and 'cheapest' model in Audi’s extensive lineup.


A real selling point is the digital driver's display, which comes as standard on all of the A1 models. As well as speed, revs, fuel etc., this also displays telephone info and media. Those who go for a car with the optional Technology Pack get additional features like a larger display, 3D Sat NAV, real-time traffic information, and wireless charging.


The Driving Experience 

It’s small, manoeuvrable and enjoyable to drive. It’s also nippy and accelerates well. It was my first time out in an automatic Audi, and it takes no time at all to get used to it. It's intuitive and something certainly not to be nervous of for those a bit nervous to make the transition from a manual car.

The car removes a lot of road noise, and somehow you get the feeling that you’re sitting in a much bigger, more expensive car. That’s another thing to note, you get a lot of kit as standard – something that you wouldn’t get with similar-sized cars like the Ford Fiesta or the SEAT Ibiza – although both cars have a much lower starting price than the Audi.

What you do get is an 8.8-inch colour display touchscreen, Audi Smartphone Interface – so Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a speed limiter, lane departure warning and pedestrian and cyclist recognition.

This one has rear parking sensors but no camera. The car is small enough and the visibility good enough that a lack of a camera isn’t an issue. However it is a costly car, so maybe something some drivers might expect to come as standard. If you want a rear camera, make sure you go for the optional Comfort and Sound Pack, which will also get you heated front seats and a Bang & Olufsen surround sound system.


Space and Practicality 

Space in the back is akin to your smallest city cars and hatchbacks. I was quite surprised as I found it pretty comparable to the Mini Cooper 5-Door Hatchback we drove a few weeks ago – certainly in terms of rear legroom, and headroom. This, while snug, is certainly not anything to turn your nose up at. The seats are firm but comfortable and are that little bit firmer because of the sports suspension.

If you go for the optional storage pack it’ll get you an adjustable boot floor, which means you’ll have less of a boot lip, and somewhere to store the parcel shelf if you take it out. Something to consider, as it’s a bit off a faff if you’re trying to carry heavy luggage and it’s got to battle with the boot lip, lips from the seats and also the addition of nowhere to store the parcel shelf.


Final Verdict

Overall, I thought the A1 was a neat little car with a good amount of space and a fantastic aesthetic. It is definitely one to consider if you’re looking for an Audi lease deal and don’t mind paying a bit of a premium for the badge.

Interested in Audi leasing? View our latest lease deals on the Audi A1