Audi succeeds to offer the unique and typical Audi driving pleasure throughout its entire range. Indeed, the facelifted A1 offers true motoring joy every metre you drive it.
We experienced all this again when we sat recently behind the stylish three spoked wheel of the facelifted A1...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Drivers' delight began right away when we started the 1,4 litre engine. We already know that this is a beautiful unit, but the engine people have surpassed themselves once again by giving it this time a very inviting, pleasing growl at the slightest blip of the throttle, growing to a sporting roar when you rev it up under power. And what power it is, a very healthy 125 HP or 92 kW ...
This power is delivered over a broad rev range between 5 and 6000 rpm, with a healthy torque of 200 Nm developed between 1400 to 4000 rpm, displaying clearly its thoroughbred character and excellent pulling power throughout the rev range. Indeed, power soars from 30 kW at 1400 to 84 kW at 4000 rpm…
All this translates in very entertaining performance: 0 to 100 is reached in 8,9 seconds. Top speed is a good 204 km, and even at these high speeds the car is utterly stable and remains, as a true premium high performance car befits, truly effortless. One feels that the car has been engineered and built for all this. The A1 is therefore a delightful companion for those very fast "Gran Turismo" Autobahn trips. We must admit that for those who are looking for some liveliness and performance, this engine is the ideal, well balanced choice. Despite our brisk driving during the test, an average around 6 litres/100 km was very well possible. The manufacturer quotes a CO2 emissions level of 118 gr/km.
But there is so much more than this responsive engine alone. The whole feel of this compact Audi, the uncanny precision of the steering, the slick gear change, all the smooth controls,
the nice, elegant dials and their lettering, so typically "technical" in their unmistakeable Audi styling language, the perfect firmness of the seats, the quality feel and sublime finish of the whole cabin and bodywork, all this makes this A1 very special- well, in fact, an Audi.
The A1 truly awakens the driver on you. Well settled in the compact cockpit, you always have the urge to go, go, go, and unleash all the masterful qualities its makers have put in this chassis and suspension.
The A1 steers wonderfully precise, thanks to the new electromechanical power steering, has superb handling and stability, up to very high speeds, be it in fast bends or a straight line.
Add to this the impressive build quality, which filters out completely any vibrations of the driveline, and you are pervaded by the premium quality feel this car is delivering.
All this pleases so much, that you are tempted more than often, to slacken the reins a little and just enjoy the refinement of this Audi. And this you can. We were impressed for instance by the excellent sound quality of the audio system in the car, which we could truly enjoy thanks to the very good insulation. Our test car was equipped with a DAB tuner, and indeed reception quality is then superb. Furthermore, there is the intuitive and easy to use navigation system, the ergonomy and logical functioning of all handles and knobs.
Joy to live with...
The A1 is a compact four seater, with very good head- and legroom in front. It is rather more compact in the back, so better suited for the younger and somewhat smaller Audi adepts.
But it has a decent boot with a wide opening boot lid, with split foldable seats, so the A1 can be practical when called for.
The recent facelift has added further styling refinement, and enhanced the unique premium character of the A1. We found the engine ideally suited to the A1, giving it the lively and even at times exhilarating performance which makes the driving experience stand out.
Add to this the steering precision and the impeccable road manners, the superb finish and quality down to the last detail, the good economy and the timeless design, and we can say that the A1 merits a long hard look when you consider buying a premium car in this segment...
Hans Knol ten Bensel