Audi A1 Sportback Review & Prices
The Audi A1 Sportback is a posh small car that is comfortable and practical. It’s easy to drive and has a good range of petrol engines but there aren’t any super-economical diesel units
What's not so good
Find out more about the Audi A1 Sportback
If you’re looking for a small, easy-to-drive car but don’t want to compromise on quality, the Audi A1 Sportback is well worth a look. It’s a bit like Fabergé egg, because it’s small and looks and feels expensive, but does cost a fair whack to buy in the first place, even if it’s pretty cheap to run after that.
The A1 is a striking thing to look at. Take that intake-ridden front end, for example. Sure, a lot of the black plastic grilles don’t actually lead anywhere, but at least they make the Audi A1 Sportback look far sportier than a Mini hatch or VW Polo. It looks even better if you plump for a top-spec car with big alloy wheels and an eye-catching two-tone paint job.
That’s not to say you have to fork out for a range-topping car to get your Audi A1 Sportback with a nice interior. Every car gets a dual-screen infotainment system and a good number of posh-feeling plastics dotted about the place to make it feel more upmarket than most small hatchbacks. There are a couple of trims, notably on the doors, that let the side down a touch, though.
The Audi A1 Sportback is also a good deal more spacious than your average small family runabout. There’s loads of headroom in the front, plenty of seat adjustment to help you get comfy and there’s enough space in the back for two more adults to come for a ride without them feeling too hemmed-in. The boot’s pretty roomy compared with alternatives’ too, so you can squeeze in some suitcases or even a set of golf clubs without too much hassle and there’s space for a bike if you flip the seats down.
Hollywood might not have made a movie called ‘Honey I Shrunk the Audi’ but, if it had, the Audi A1 Sportback would be its headline act
Chances are that you won’t be using your Audi A1 Sportback for lugging heavy loads to and from the tip, though. More likely you’ll be nipping to and from town at rush hour where the A1’s small size, light controls and decent visibility make it a doddle to squeeze through gaps in traffic.
If you spend a lot of time in town, the three-cylinder 20 TFSI petrol model is the engine to go for. That said, there’s a selection of increasingly more powerful 30-, 35- and 40-badged four-cylinder models which are better suited for longer journeys and long motorway trips. They’re all pretty smooth and fairly economical, but it’s a shame you can’t get the Audi A1 Sportback with a fuel-sipping diesel engine for long cross-country slogs.
On the subject of long drives, the Audi A1 Sportback’s optional automatic gearbox helps the edge of long stints behind the wheel but it can be a bit jerky at slow speeds. The standard manual gearboxes are easy to use but, even with the slickest six-speed unit fitted, the Audi A1 Sportback isn’t as much fun to blast down a quiet country road as the more involving Ford Fiesta or Mini hatchback.
Still, if you’re looking for an upmarket small car with a spacious cabin and loads of standard kit, few cars do quite as good a job as the Audi A1 Sportback.
Why not see how much you can save by checking out the latest Audi A1 Sportback deals or read on for our detailed interior and specifications review sections.
The Audi A1 Sportback has a RRP range of £20,665 to £30,445. However, with carwow you can save on average £372. Prices start at £20,368 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £236. The price of a used Audi A1 Sportback on carwow starts at £11,995.
Our 3 most popular versions of the Audi A1 Sportback are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|25 TFSI Technik 5dr||£20,368||Compare offers|
|30 TFSI 110 Technik 5dr S Tronic||£22,609||Compare offers|
|25 TFSI Sport 5dr||£21,796||Compare offers|
The A1 is offered in Technik, Sport, S Line and Vorsprung trim levels, along with an S Line Competition reserved for the most powerful engine available.
There are four turbocharged engines in total, three- and four-cylinder ranging from 1.0- to 1.5-litres and all petrol powered.
The range kicks off with a 25 TFSI (95hp), followed by the 30 TFSI (116hp) and the 35 TFSI (150hp), while top of the range is the 200hp 40 TFSI available exclusively in S Line Competition trim. All engines come with a choice of manual or S-Tronic auto transmissions, other than the 40 TFSI, which is S-Tronic only.
Refined and stylish it may be, but the A1 Sportback isn’t a car that will stir your senses
Given its compact dimensions, you’d expect the A1 to be a town-focused car that is perfectly at home in congested streets. But while forward visibility is great the enormous rear pillars make manoeuvring harder than it should be, so it’s not as easy as it ought to be to park.
That said, it’s a very pleasant and refined car in which to spend time and is a cut above the usual supermini if you’re going to sit in city traffic.
On the motorway
As small cars go, the A1 Sportback is very refined, especially at cruising speeds where both road and wind noise are very well suppressed for such a small car. That Audi badge means more than just status, it also means the A1 has bigger-car refinement. It feels like a quality machine.
On a twisty road
Whatever you do, don’t expect Mini levels of roadholding or agility here. It’s not that the A1 doesn’t handle well – it’s never anything but reassuring – but it just doesn’t have the sharp point-to-point feel that makes the Mini hatch so engaging.
It’s a civilised and grown-up small car but not a sporty one, though it does have good levels of grip and impressive, powerful brakes. Comfort-wise, it’s fine on smooth roads, but it tends to feel unsettled and jiggly on uneven and broken surfaces.
Smartly designed and impressively spacious, the A1 Sportback is a practical supermini, but visibility isn’t great
It’s compact by modern standards but is still 56mm longer than its predecessor, albeit narrower and lower.
The cabin is neatly and clinically styled with a premium feel, but the thick rear pillars mean rear parking sensors or cameras are a very useful option as rear visibility is pretty poor.
It’s an easy car to get comfortable in though, with lumbar support on all but the entry-level model and firm yet supportive seats.
Space in the back seats
In the rear, the A1 Sportback offers a little more flexibility than comparative small hatches, and has the Mini knocked into a cocked hat. It’ll fit four adults in relative comfort, given it’s a small car, and is certainly near the top of the class for rear seat comfort. There are two ISOFIX mounting points.
The Sportback is generally pretty good in terms of luggage capacity, with 335 litres of space with the back seats locked in place and 1,090 with them folded flat. You’ll find a lot less boot space in a Mini (211 litres), but there’s more in a VW Polo (351 litres) or SEAT Ibiza (355 litres).
Interior quality matches the high-end hatchback price tag, although cheaper plastics are not completely eliminated
Part of the A1’s appeal (and justification for its premium price tag) is its interior quality and it certainly looks the part, with soft-touch materials on the dashboard, high-quality switches and piano black trim highlights.
Look closely, though, as it’s not as high-end as it first appears, with cheaper grade plastics on the doors and around the handbrake and gear surrounds.
Traditional heating and ventilation knobs are welcome compared to the fiddly touch-screen controls of some rivals, but the dials and instruments are all digital, with the option of swapping the standard 10.3-inch display for a more configurable “Smart Cockpit” if you opt for the expensive Technology Pack.
The rest of the controls operate via an 8.80-inch infotainment touchscreen with icon controls. All models get Bluetooth, DAB and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
If you add the Technology Pack, the screen increases to 10.1 inches and you get sat nav, wireless and phone-charging. A Comfort and Sound Pack adds a 560w Bang&Olufsen stereo.
In terms of running costs the A1 is expensive to buy but holds its value better than its key rivals, with the highest residual values in the class.
The 108bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is the most economical option with 51mpg and 124g/km of CO2, while the 1.5 returns 47.1mpg and 135g/km.
In company car tax terms, most rivals will be cheaper thanks to the A1’s relatively steep list price.
The Audi A1 achieved a full five stars in Euro NCAP testing, and safety kit includes Audi Pre-sense ‘Front’ with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, which assists braking in the event of something shooting out in front of the car.
It also gets Lane Departure Warning, Hills Start Assist and a speed limiter that you can set from the driving menu. All A1 Sportbacks get the Audi Connect Safety and Service including e-call, which alerts the emergency services for you in the event of an accident.
Audi offers a pretty basic three-year/60,000-mile warranty on the A1 Sportback including breakdown cover and recovery, and the bodywork warranty is 12 years. There have been no UK recalls so far.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.