Audi A1 Sportback (2018) Review

Audi A1 Sportback (2018) At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
Like its predecessor, the Audi A1 is a very appealing small hatch as you get much of the looks and all of the quality of larger Audis in a city-busting car.

+All models get digital instrument cluster, lots of personalisation options available.

-Not a huge departure in terms of styling...

New prices start from £19,885, brokers can source from £16,990
Insurance Groups are between 16–31
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

When Audi replaced the A1 in 2018, it did so with only the five-door Sportback model to make its premium small hatch challenger as practical as possible. Given the strength of opposition not only from MINI but also the likes of the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio, this was a sound move. The A1 Sportback is also longer and wider to offer more space to compete with others such as the Renault Clio and Nissan Micra. A range of turbo petrol engines offers everything from frugal to fast, while trim options are more varied than the car it replaced.

Audi has dared to be a little funkier with the second generation of A1 Sportback, placing it ideally between the sobriety of the Volkswagen Polo and the style-led MINI.

This is not to say the A1 is small. Far from it as it has grown in every direction compared to the first generation of the model that was launched in 2010.

When Audi unveiled this replacement in 2018, the A1 had ditched the three-door model and stuck solely to the five-door Sportback version. This makes the A1 a more versatile and practical car for its owners, as well as giving the opposition more competition while not compromising on driving dynamics.

It’s good to drive in town or on the open road, though Audi has yet to learn lessons from the original A1 about suspension settings. This latest A1 Sportback comes with a standard supple set-up, but models with the Sport suspension remain too harsh on most roads.

Also ushered in with this A1 Sportback is Audi’s slightly confusing engine identifying nomenclature. It starts with the 95PS 25 TFSI petrol, which is the first of four turbo petrol motors on offer and has a five-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed S tronic auto. Next up is the 30 TFSI with 116PS and a choice of six-speed manual or the S tronic transmission.

Top of the pile for most trims is the 35 TFSI 1.5 with 150PS and only available with the S tronic gearbox. If you opt for the S Line Competition model with its 40 TFSI boot badge, you get a 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor with 200PS to make this the quickest A1 Sportback in the line-up and this model also comes with stiffer, adjustable sports suspension.

As for trim levels, Audi launched the A1 Sportback with SE as the entry-point to the range, but this has since been renamed Technik. It’s far from basic thanks to 15-inch alloy wheels, LED lights front and rear, while inside there’s Audi’s Smartphone interface and an 8.8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment.

Next in line is the Sport that adds larger 16-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, cruise control and some sporty front seats. S Line customers are treated to 17-inch alloy wheels, exterior styling pack including a more aggressive front grille, and firmer Sport suspension.

There are three additional versions of the S Line, starting with the Contrast Edition that has 18-inch alloys, darkened headlight lenses, Python yellow paint.

It also has a gloss black roof, door mirrors and other outside details in this finish. Choose the Style Edition and you get different alloys in a bronze finish, while inside there’s and LED Ambient Lighting pack. The big change for the Competition is its more potent engine, but it also comes with red brake calipers and platinum grey wheels and door mirror caps.

Finally, the Vorsprung model ups the ante with its own 18-inch wheel design and front sports seats trimmed in Alcantara and leatherette. Audi also includes its MMI Navigation Plus with MMI touch infotainment as well as the Virtual Cockpit that lets the driver configure the main dash display with a variety of different screens.

Ask Honest John

Which is better, the Audi A1 or Mercedes-Benz A-Class?
"I’m retiring soon and wish to treat myself and buy a nearly-new petrol, manual car. Bearing in mind servicing cost, depreciation and resale - should I buy an Audi A1 Sportback or a Mercedes A180? Thanks."
Both are good choices. It depends on your requirements, really. The Audi A1 is smaller and will be more suited to city driving, while the bigger A-Class will feel more suited to long motorway journeys. As a comfortable car for your retirement, we'd recommend the A-Class.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend comfortable, quiet tyres?
"Can you suggest a tyre to replace Good Year Efficient Grip, which are noisy and give a harsh ride, on my Audi A1? Many thanks."
I usually recommend Michelin Primacy 4 or Continental ContiPremiumContact 5 for summer tyres, though you should also look at Dunlop Sport BluResponse if your priorities are comfort and quietness. I recommend you look at all three on a tyre retail site like Kwik-Fit to compare prices and stats like noise levels.
Answered by Georgia Petrie
Are there any small automatic cars available in yellow?
"What companies sell small automatic yellow cars? I currently have a Skoda Fabia but these are no longer sold in yellow."
The Audi A1, which is available with an S tronic gearbox and Python yellow paint. It's expensive, though. There's also the DS 3 Puretech 110 automatic available in Sport Yellow
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Audi A1 Sportback (2018) cost?

Buy new from £16,990 (list price from £18,900)