If youre on the look-out for a new, dinky hatchback, its safe to assume the Audi A1 Sportback features prominently on your supermini shortlist.
After all, with a combination of class-leading opulence, an impressive array of super-frugal engines and the prestige of that badge, its not surprising the five-door A1 is rated by the critics as one of the top cars of its type on sale today.
But what does it do differently from the regular three-door A1 to justify the 640 premium on an already fairly hefty list price? With this little guide, we sum up the pros and cons that come with the Sportback.
When it comes to the automotive worlds renditions of Spot The Difference, few are as simple and as easy as telling the A1 and A1 Sportback apart. Mainly because there is only one major change where the regular A1 is a three-door model, the Sportback is a five-door.
In visual terms, the only way the extra apertures really affect the A1 is when you look at the car from the side, with the three-door appearing the more rakish and sporting of the two when viewed from the profile.
Then again, its not like the A1 Sportback doesnt look the part, so well let the sportier side shot pass.
For the most part, the A1 and A1 Sportback are identical to each other with regards to how much space is available underneath the smart, crisp coachwork.
Both cars, for instance, get the same 270 litres of loading capacity in the boot, along with the same leg, shoulder and head room for the driver and the passenger up front.
As with the exterior, the only changes are minor, though for some they may mean all the difference: the Sportback gets an extra seat in the back row. Whereas the regular A1 makes do with just two chairs in the rear, the extra 13mm Audis somehow squeezed into the back is enough to shoehorn a third seat into.
Though, it must be said, the Sportback still fares better as a 2+2 car, as the extra pew is unbelievably narrow.
The same story can be said for the extra 12mm of headroom in the back its helpful, but six-footers will still be brushing their heads on the roof lining. Still, if you want your superminis to be spacious as possible, the A1 Sportback does tick all the right boxes in this category.
Hurrah, a category where both cars match each other exactly on the spec sheets! Try as we might, we genuinely cannot find a statistic or snippet of engine info that the A1 and A1 Sportback dont share.
As such, this segment of the guide should be pretty brief and satisfyingly simple: both cars get the same batch of 1.2 and 1.4 TFSI petrol engines, along with the 1.6 and 2.0 TDI diesels.
Transmission options are also identical over both model ranges as well the 1.2 petrol and 1.6 diesel can only be specified with five-speed manual gearboxes, whereas the solitary box option for the 2.0 diesel is a six-speed manual.
If its an automatic youre after, though, youll have to plump with either the 140hp or 180hp 1.4 petrol engines, with their seven-speed dual-clutchers. Despite being marginally heavier though (Sportbacks are roughly 25kg heavier than the regular three-door variants), Audi claims the two A1s are as frugal and as efficient as each other for example, the 1.4 petrol with cylinder deactivation tech in both cars (when in mid-range Sport trim) can return up to 60.1mpg on the combined cycle.
The cheapest way into A1 Sportback ownership is to spend 14,410 on a bone stock 1.2 TFSI petrol in SE trim (or, if youre leaning more towards diesel power, 15,470 for the 1.6 TDI).
Of course, this inevitably rises all the way up to the flagship S-Line models, which top out at a rather whopping 22,960 for the 185hp 1.4 TFSI. Given you can get a well-specified and more powerful Skoda Fabia VRS, VW Golf GTI or Ford Fiesta ST for less money though, its a model thats perhaps not worthy of all your attention…
Standard equipment levels are decent enough for SE-spec cars, but dont expect much: highlights on the tech sheets for base Sportbacks are manual air-con, 15inch alloys and a 6.5 inch display screen.
The mid-level Sport spec brings an extra sprinkling of leather and aluminium interior trim, sports seats and Bluetooth connectivity to the mix, whilst the most obvious changes – come cut from the range-topping S-Line cloth – are swish, sporting body panels and a subtle rear spoiler.
A word of warning, though as you make your way up the trim levels, the wheels get larger and the suspension (especially for S-Line cars) gets stiffer, so thats worth considering if youd prefer your superminis to be as supple over rough roads as possible.
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For more, read our full buying guides to the Audi A1Sportback, with reviews, user reviews, stats, photos and videos.