6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Motoring in Kent: the Audi A1

PUBLISHED: 21:47 16 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:41 20 February 2013

Motoring in Kent: the Audi A1

Motoring in Kent: the Audi A1

With a history of smart design and a penchant for pushing new technology, does Audi's new A1 live up to its predecessors? Michael Palmer investigates

Motoring in Kent: the Audi A1

With a history of smart design and a penchant for pushing new technology, does Audis new A1 live up to its predecessors? Michael Palmer investigates

Does anyone remember the Audi A2? A revolutionary aluminum body meant the city runabout weighed roughly the same as a Lotus Elise, making it extraordinarily economical. It was a pioneer for aluminum-based vehicles, but therein lay its downfall. The A2 was just too expensive and sales fell short; in 2005 the Audi A2 slipped into obscurity and out of our minds. With insurers preferring to write them off rather than repair the expensive aluminum shell, theyre vanishing slowly from our roads.

We first caught a glimpse of the new A1 as a concept in 2007, and a quick glance at the production model reveals that the design has survived virtually unscathed. Smart LED daytime running lights, a wide gaping front grille and the high waistline are unmistakable Audi traits, and the roof contrast line (available in four colours), makes customising your A1 an entertaining and colourful possibility.

So whats it like inside? Typically Audi the dash is classy, well organised and exudes a quality feel, and everything is beautifully finished. It feels like a small A8 and if youre keen to shell out a few grand on extra equipment you can fit your A1 out like one, with sat nav, hard drives, climate control and auto wipers and lights. Passengers have plenty of room in the back, and while the boot space isnt exactly class-leading, (270 litres), its almost 100 litres more than BMWs Mini offers.

On the road is where things get interesting, though. The A1 is a VW Group car - the company is extremely well known for its platform sharing, so underneath all the LED lights and flashy bodywork lie underpinnings that would be reasonably familiar to Seat Ibiza or Skoda Fabia owners. In the spirit of its what you do with it that counts, though, Audi has, with a lot of tweaking, succeeded in making the A1 drive very differently to its cousins.

Its fantastic. Small and agile, the A1s sharp steering will endear it to those partial to a B-road blat, and with three suspension setups (based on trim level), theres a car for virtually every style of driving. Swap the country for the motorway and the A1 really comes into its own solid stability is the order of the day, and the refined ride and quiet cabin help make it an excellent all-rounder. It really is a genuinely fun little car to cruise around in.

With three engines on offer (two petrols and a diesel) were still waiting for the 180bhp hot version, but for now the mildly spicy 1.4 turbocharged unit kicks out 120bhp and will reach 60mph in a respectable 8.9sec. Its economical too, thanks to Audis stop-start technology, and will average more than 50mpg but for frugal-fuellers theres a 1.6 diesel on offer too, which should be good for 70mpg.

However, its the purchase price that might be an issue for some. At more than 18,000 for a top spec A1 its more expensive than pretty much all its rivals, but take into account the likely strong residual values and its a much better deal than it looks. It might not be as revolutionary as the A2, but Audis new A1 is a grown up and talented performer it doesnt deserve the same fate.

Audi A1 1.4 TFSI

Price: from 13,420

Performance: 0-60: 8.9sec

Economy: more than 50mpg

CO2: 124g/km

Engine: 1.4 turbocharged 4cyl

Gearbox: Six-speed manual

Contact details: Tel: 0845 1248867

More from Motoring

Friday, August 30, 2019

Hoghton Tower in Preston was the venue for the Bowker Centenary Family Festival, celebrating the company's 100 year anniversary.

Read more
Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A rally with a difference brought Defender devotees to see the birthplace of their cult and quirky made-in-Yorkshire motors.

Read more
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Digging deep for the miners

Read more
Friday, June 7, 2019

CarFest North returns to Bolesworth Estate from 26th - 28th July.

Read more
Friday, May 31, 2019

Thistle Rose Leisure show that your dream holiday may just be on four wheels.

Read more
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

For seven decades, the Vantage nameplate has been worn by some of the world's most iconic cars. Meet the new incarnation ascending to the Aston Martin throne

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life