Audi A1 Sportback interior
The Audi A1 Sportback’s interior is available with colourful trims that make it look vibrant and its huge infotainment screens dwarf those in most other small cars. Cheap plastics spoil it a little, though
The Audi A1 Sportback looks and feels posh for a small car.
Its most distinctive feature is the huge infotainment screen behind the steering wheel that gives the A1 a high-tech edge over alternatives. That and the large display in the centre of the cabin give its dashboard a clean design that’s largely free of conventional buttons.
That said, the kit you’ll often use – such as the stereo and the heater – can be adjusted using large knobs that are easy to reach for when you’re driving.
When you’re not cruising along, you can enjoy the look of the Audi A1 Sportback’s smart cabin. There’s a wide variety of trim options to choose from including subtle metallic inserts and some more brightly coloured trims that make the A1 a more cheerful place to sit than many larger Audis.
It’s just a shame the Audi A1 Sportback can’t match the interior quality of the company’s bigger cars. Positives include the reassuringly solid centre console and the squidgy plastics in the centre of the dashboard, but the plastics used for the lower half of the interior and the insides of the doors feel hard and cheap.
The man-made leather seats you get in S Line cars feel fairly plush and you can get partial Alcantara-trimmed seats in S Line Contrast Edition cars if you prefer something a little sportier. It’s a shame that only very high spec S Line Style Edition cars come with real leather seats as standard, though.
You’ll be impressed by how well the Audi A1 Sportback deals with a variety of different roads. On the motorway, the Audi is quiet for a small car and comes with a lane-departure warning system to help keep it in lane. A speed limiter is also standard – so you don’t have to worry about getting snapped by a camera – and you get automatic emergency braking as standard that’ll limit the severity of a collision or prevent it entirely. It can detect cars, but also pedestrians and cyclists. Active cruise control is an option you should consider if you do lots of motorway driving. It can brake and accelerate the A1 Sportback automatically – slowing the Audi to match the speed of the car in front before returning to your preset cruising speed when the way’s clear. Head off the motorway and into town and you’ll find the Audi A1’s light controls and small size make it ideal for nipping down tight streets and squeezing into parking spaces. Sport and S line models come as standard with rear parking sensors, but you can pay extra for a reversing camera with guidelines that help you aim the car into its space. Another option is auto park which can choose a space big enough for the car and steer it into position while you operate the accelerator and brake, then steer you out of your space, too. And once you’re outside the city and on faster country roads you’ll find the A1 Sportback has plenty of grip and doesn’t lean much in bends. It’s more comfortable than a Ford Fiesta, too, but ultimately doesn’t have the Ford’s agility and fun-factor.
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One of the A1’s big selling points is that it comes as standard with a great infotainment system as standard.
Even the basic 9-inch centre touchscreen is larger than you get in most top-spec alternatives and it has colourful graphics that are pretty to look at. It doesn’t come with sat-nav but it does come with Audi’s Smartphone Interface, so you can use your Apple or Android smartphone’s navigation apps on the car’s big screen instead.
The screen itself understands smartphone gestures like pinch and swipe, is responsive and easy to use when you’re parked up, but it can be tricky to hit the right button when you’re driving. Annoyingly, the haptic feedback you get in larger Audis – that mimics pressing an actual button – isn’t fitted to the A1 and it also misses out on the rotary control dial between the two front seats that you get in a Mini.
If you fancy a larger touchscreen, you’d be better off paying for the optional Technology Pack. This comes with a larger 10-inch central screen and adds integrated sat-nav that’s more responsive and smarter looking than mirroring your smartphone’s screen. The Technology Pack also unlocks new features on the standard 10-inch digital instrument display, including the option to display the car’s sat-nav map behind the steering wheel. It looks cool and it’s also really intuitive to operate using buttons on the steering wheel.
The Comfort Pack is another bundle of equipment worth considering. It upgrades the tinny standard stereo for a Bang & Olufsen setup with a powerful 560W output. Audi claims it’s the only surround sound stereo fitted to a small car and it’s 11 speakers really bring music to life. Along with the upgraded stereo, the Comfort Pack adds front and rear parking sensors and heated front seats.
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