Audi A1 Sportback Review

Everything you want to know about the Audi A1 Sportback

Audi A1 Sportback parked

The seasoned Audi A1 Sportback has been treated to a makeover to stay at the forefront of buyers’ minds. A bigger, less cute version of the loveable Audi A1 hatch, the Sportback only costs £650 more than its stablemate yet gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Two extra doors ensure greater practicality and versatility, while a cranked up S1 version really puts the cat among the pigeons in the premium hatchback sector.

This car really took off when it was first launched. Has it got staying power? Let’s take a closer look.

Audi A1 Sportback Test Drive

Audi A1 Sportback front view driving

Whichever engine you choose, you’ll get a ride that is smooth, refined and powerful. Although this Sportback is bigger than the A1 three-door hatchback, it’s still what you’d class as a relatively small car, which means that it’s still as agile as a kid on a climbing frame. There’s an abundance of grip available, while steering is sharp. Overall, the car doesn’t offer as much fun and games as the Mini 5-door hatch, but it offers enough and is aided by the electronic differential, which comes as standard.

The further up the range you go, though, the firmer the suspension becomes. If it’s sheer excitement and drama you want, opt for the S1 variant.

There is engine news: The dull 1.2-litre FSI petrol that was good for 89PS has been dumped, and is replaced by a pokier 1.0-litre three pot unit that develops 95PS of power. If you don’t fancy taking a chance on this entry-level engine, the choice is small but interesting: There is a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol plant on offer which comes in either 125PS or 150PS guise, while the diesel comes in the form of a potent 1.6-litre TDI.

As it’s the only diesel available, you might be forgiven for expecting it to be a bit more sporty. It takes 9.4 seconds to get from rest to 62mph and is not exactly what you’d call irresistible, but it is smooth. Just for the sake of balance, the MINI CountryMan offers a 2.0-litre diesel that is much more rapid.

The Interior, Design And Build Of The Audi A1 Sportback

Audi A1 Sportback interior

The design and shape of the Audi A1 hatch was right on the money, and once Audi got it into their heads to make a bigger version, it was never going to be easy to hit the jackpot. As such, the Sportback doesn’t look as good but it’s still an attractive proposition.

The single frame grille is now wider and flatter, while the bumpers benefit from a few revisions. New – and slicker – alloys have been introduced, while the colour palette has been updated to include a few new choices.

The Audi Sportback A1 is 6mm wider and taller than the A1 hatch, so where it does improve on its stablemate is comfort. It’s still a small car, but if you opt for the right model, you’ll get treated to a cabin that offers space and comfort.

The actual interior itself is a pleasant place to be. If you thought Audi might neglect the A1’s interior and only adorn their bigger cars in luxury and opulence, you’d be dead wrong. We’re not talking grandiloquence either; all the beauty you see in Audi’s saloons has been lovingly transferred to here. The dash is exquisite and best in its class, and if you opt for the Sport model you’ll get a 3-spoke leather steering wheel that is the absolute icing on the cake.

You get the option of customising contrasting colours, too, so that your A1 Sportback really does feel like it’s yours.

Practicality is good. This car is taller and wider than its smaller cousin, and therefore offers more room for its rear passengers. For longer journeys, though, you might want to take a closer look at the Volkswagen Polo if you’re going to be cramming your car with people. It’s not what you’d call a roomy family car by any stretch of the imagination.

Audi A1 Sportback back seat

Audi A1 Sportback Pricing And Running Costs

Prices for the new car start out from around £15,000 and rise to £23,500.

Standard equipment is not fantastic across the range, and things might get expensive as you add options to your bill in order to bring this car up to scratch. Bluetooth connectivity is frustratingly not available as standard, not unless you’ve got the money for an S Line model. What are standard in the entry-level model are 15” alloys and a DAB digital radio.

In terms of running costs, the new A1 Sportback fares well. Kicking into touch the old 1.0-litre TFSI unit and replacing it with a more efficient 1.2-litre TFSI was a smart idea, and the new engine returns 60mpg and emits just 99g/km of CO2. The 1.4-litre petrol, meanwhile, emits 115g/km of CO2, while the diesel returns 74.3mpg and emits 92g/km.

Audi A1 Sportback back view

Our Favourite: Audi A1 SE Line Sportback

Some buyers might be put off by the high price tag, but the lush interior and high-quality technology go someway to justifying the asking value. Form does come before function, but it’s really about what you need: If you need a spacious family car for 5 people, this isn’t your best bet. If, however, you’re to be ferrying around 2 adults and 2 kids, the Audi A1 Sportback represents smart money.

Audi A1 Sportback side view
Will Titterington
  • 31st May 2016

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