Review: Audi A1 (2010 – 2015)
Chic and sporty looks plus a classy interior. Enjoyable to drive. Efficient chain cam petrol engines, plenty of scope for personalisation. Well equipped. 99g/km 1.6 TDI from 2011.
Efficient and pleasant but not overtly sporty.
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Audi A1 (2010 – 2015): At A Glance
The Audi A1 is summed up in three words: stylish, chic and sophisticated. It may be the smallest (and cheapest) Audi in the range but this sporty three-door - Audi's answer to the likes of the MINI and Citroen DS3 - is every bit as good as it looks. And as you'd expect from an Audi, the A1 is a premium hatchback with a high class interior, superb build quality and impressive refinement
Thanks to a range of efficient turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, it's cheap to run with all models able to average at least 50mpg while the 1.6 TDI diesel manages more than 70mpg according to the claimed figures at least.
However, the engine we'd recommend would be the newer 1.0 TFSI petrol that was introduced in 2015. Don't be put off by its small size - it's got plenty of get up and go plus it's economical too.
Indeed, whichever engine you go for, the A1 isn't all show and no go because despite the modest power outputs, the light weight of the Audi A1 ensures peppy performance.
Audi hasn't skimped on standard kit either, making the A1 good value for money. All versions come generously equipped with alloy wheels, air conditioning and ESP stability control as standard which is more than many similarly priced equivalents offer.
Of course the big comparison is with the MINI and there are certainly obvious similarities between the two, but the Audi A1 walks a slightly different path with a more aggressive style and cutting edge interior. Plus, like most small cars of this ilk, there's plenty of scope for personalisation with different contrasting roof line options and a wide range of accessories.
The quality and style that Audi has able to bring to the small car market, along with great handling, means the Audi A1 is a cut above its competitors and makes this highly desirable yet cheap to run hatchback a great choice.
What does a Audi A1 (2010 – 2015) cost?
Audi A1 (2010 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
The interior of the A1 is unlike any other Audi, making it feel like an individual model rather than a shrunken version of the Audi A3. Many of the switches and controls are borrowed from the latest Audi A8, which means it has a truly premium feel and this is backed up by the high quality materials used throughout including soft touch plastics on the dash top. There are some lovely details too such as the unique circular air vents - the gloss surrounds of which can be personalised with different coloured trim.
All models come with a 6.5-inch colour screen on the dash top for the stereo display as well as sat nav (if fitted). You can actually have sat nav retrofitted, so even if you buy a used car without it, you don't have to miss out. There's a very clean and minimalist design inside which is a big contrast to alternatives like the MINI, but you can instinctively tell it's an Audi.
There's a real performance feel too helped by features such as the sporty looking dials, metal trimmed gear lever and three-spoke sports steering wheel. However it's still very comfortable with enveloping seats that are soft enough for long journeys but offer good support in corners. The driving position is excellent too with plenty of height adjustment in the seat and reach adjustment in the steering column.
The A1 even manages to offer reasonable space for passengers in the back, although taller adults might find it tight for head room and leg room is limited with the front seats slid all the way back. But for shorter journeys the space is certainly useable plus the A1 even boasts a usefully large boot with a wide opening and split folding rear seats if you need to carry larger loads.
There's plenty of scope for personalising your A1 too with a variety of interior trim colours (including bright green and a more chic cream) while the roof rails and door mirrors can be chosen in different colours to either contrast or compliment the rest of the paintwork. One thing to note however is that if you choose a chrome finish to the air vents, it reflects in the door mirrors which can be distracting.
Equipment from launch (Nov 2010):
SE is the entry-level A1 comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, an automatic start/stop function, a tyre repair kit, CD stereo, SD car reader, auxiliary socket, a 6.5-inch display screen, voice control, split folding rear seats, cloth upholstery, easy-entry front seats, three-spoke sports steering wheel, air conditioning, electric front windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors, ESP electronic stability program, Isofix child seat mountings for front passenger and rear seats, remote central locking and rear head restraints.
Sport adds 16-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, Bluetooth, front sports seats, manually adjustable lumbar support in front seats, driver's information system, aluminium trm for control switches and door handles, leather handbrake and sports gear lever, front fog lights and a polished tailpipe.
S line is the top of the range version has twin-spoke 17-inch alloys, S line sports suspension, leather and cloth upholstery, black cloth headlining, floor mats with piping, S line bodystyling, side skirts and a roof spoiler
Child seats that fit a Audi A1 (2010 – 2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi A1 (2010 – 2015) like to drive?
The smallest engine in the range was originally a 1.2 TFSI which is fitted with a turbocharger to give it a more than adequate power output of 86PS. The turbo gives it a very distinct character and makes it great fun to drive while also having a huge effect on efficiency with claimed fuel economy of 55.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 118g/km.
in 2015 a 1.0 TFSi engine was introduced as part of the A1 facelift to replace the 1.2 TFSI. It may seem too small for the A1 but it's actually a very good fit and has plenty of low down get-up-and-go. It has 95PS so is actually a better performer than the 1.2-litre engine plus economy considerably improves with the official figure rising to 67.3mpg.
The 1.0 TFSI is at its best in town where it feels very lively away from the lights. It's not overawed on the motorway either and will happily keep up with fast flowing traffic, although you will notice a slight lack of torque which means you often have to change gear if you want quicker acceleration. But it's not noisy at 70mph and happily cruises along.
The other petrol is the excellent 1.4 TFSI - and engine that can be found in a wide range of cars including the Volkswagen Golf. It's been available with different power outputs - with the 150PS model the quickest - but all versions have a really zesty nature, revving freely and pulling strongly from low down.
It has a nice sporty note too and doesn't become strained or coarse, even when pushed hard. Despite all this it's still reasonably economical with the claimed figures showing more than 55mpg.
The most popular diesel is the 1.6 TDI which is smoother than previous Audi TDI engines, albeit not the quietest diesel around. It originally boasted a respectable 105PS (later up to 116PS) but it's the 250Nm of torque which really makes this such a strong unit.
It's usefully punchy when required, working well with the positive five-speed manual gearbox. But the best part is a claimed economy figure of more than 70mpg meaning it's peanuts in terms of running costs. Low CO2 emissions mean it's cheap to tax too.
The A1 uses aluminium body panels to keep weight down and while this helps fuel economy, it also means it's incredibly agile. As there's very little weight to carry, it's nimble in corners with very little bodyroll while the direct and sharp steering (which is also nicely weighted) gives it a real sports car feel, even with the smaller 1.2 TFSI engine. It's great fun to drive, either in town when nipping in and out of traffic or on open more demanding roads.
As for ride quality, the standard A1 is firm but not uncomfortable and soaks up the majority of bumps well. The Sport trim gives you stiffer suspension and it's noticeable, especially in town, but is still more than forgiving enough in everyday driving. S line models get even firmer and lower suspension which is great in corners, but does mean it can be quite crashy over uneven surfaces and speed bumps.
|1.0 TFSI||64–67 mpg||10.9 s||97–102 g/km|
|1.0 TFSI S tronic||61–64 mpg||10.9 s||102–107 g/km|
|1.2 TFSI||55 mpg||11.7 s||118 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI||53 mpg||8.9 s||124 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI 125||55–59 mpg||7.8–8.8 s||112–120 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI 125 S tronic||55–59 mpg||7.8–8.8 s||111–117 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI 140 CoD||60 mpg||7.9 s||109 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI 140 CoD S tronic||60 mpg||7.9 s||109 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI 150 CoD||57–59 mpg||7.8 s||112–117 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI 150 CoD S tronic||57–59 mpg||7.8 s||111–116 g/km|
|1.4 TFSI S tronic||48–54 mpg||6.9–8.9 s||119–139 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 105||74 mpg||10.5 s||99 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 116||71–76 mpg||9.4 s||92–104 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 116 S tronic||71–74 mpg||9.4 s||97–106 g/km|
|2.0 TDI||69 mpg||8.2 s||108 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi A1 (2010 – 2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Audi A1 (2010 – 2015)?
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