The Audi A1 is the smallest model the German carmaker sells, but it’s been injected with all the qualities that make us love the firm’s larger models – it’s solidly built, boasts impressive features and high-tech engines. It might cost more than the Fiat 500 or a Vauxhall Adam, but then it feels like it does.
There is one problem, though, and it’s called the Mini hatchback. The British-built challenger is three years younger than the Audi and that shows in its higher-quality cabin and the detailed graphics of its infotainment screen.
It’s also a good deal more fun to drive, but the A1 is still easy to operate and has great all-round visibility. All engines are economical too, with the 1.0-litre petrol the perfect choice for a city runabout, and the 1.6-litre diesel serves as a great motorway companion. Of course, the super-fast S1 isn’t as frugal, but few rivals can match its performance.
A lofty sticker price but low running costs and a premium badge make this a great premium city runabout
If you want the kudos of Audi’s premium badge, but in a smaller package that’s ideal for city driving, then the Audi A1 is a desirable model, especially when Mercedes and BMW have yet to launch direct rivals. Arguably its biggest obstacle comes from within its own ranks – the Volkswagen Polo offers broadly the same classy experience but costs quite a bit less.
Audi is preparing to launch a new high-performance model before the A1 is replaced in 2018. See the exclusive renders in our Audi RS1 price, specs and release date article.