Review

Audi A1 Sportback hatchback

Price  £15,150 - £23,450

Audi A1 Sportback hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Top-quality interior
  • Superb engines
  • Very stylish
Cons
  • Expensive to buy
  • Uncomfortable ride
  • Limited rear-seat space

At a glance

The greenest
1.6 TDI SE 116PS 5dr £16,225
The cheapest
1.0 TFSI SE 95PS 5dr £15,150
The fastest
1.4 TFSI S line 150PS S tronic 5dr £21,855
Top of the range
1.4 TFSI Black Edition 150PS S tronic 5dr £23,450

"For a little extra money, the Audi A1 Sportback offers even greater versatility than the three-door A1."

The Audi A1 Sportback is the five-door version of the A1. The two extra doors make the car significantly more practical than the three-door but do mean the car looks slightly less sporty and neat. Nevertheless, some eye-catching paint colours, including contrasting roof and body schemes, go some way to restoring the car's visual appeal.

The A1 benefits from Audi's badge appeal and build quality, both of which help maintain the car's desirability despite the fact that a MINI is better to drive and the Volkswagen Polo is cheaper and more practical. The A1 is sufficiently in demand that it doesn’t depreciate as badly as some rivals and this also results in lower monthly payments than you may expect if you decide to buy the car on PCP finance.

There are several petrol engines to choose from plus one diesel if you’re buying an A1 Sportback. Our favourite petrol choice is the powerful 1.4-litre engine, which can return as much as 58.9mpg with a manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox. Low emissions mean VED (road tax) is just £30 per year. The 1.6-litre diesel engine returns an impressive 76.3mpg and costs nothing in tax thanks to CO2 emissions below 100g/km.

If you do plenty of motorway miles and value good fuel economy and relaxed cruising ability, then the diesel is likely to be the best choice. If you prefer sharper responses and livelier performance, particularly if you use the car mostly around town, then the 1.4-litre petrol, which can do 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds compared to the diesel's 9.4, is excellent. The sporty, range-topping S1 quattro is faster still, with a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds, but it's virtually a standalone model thanks to the changes made to make it so fast.

The A1 feels very nippy, and, thanks to the grip it generates and its well weighted steering, inspires confidence on the open road. A fun and competent performer both around town and on the motorway, the only major drawbacks to A1 ownership are its slightly high price tag and the ride, which is, as is this case with a lot of Audis, rather on the firm side, particularly in S line guise.

Inside, the A1 Sportback is every inch the premium car, with classy materials and excellent fit and finish. It's not exactly spacious, though, especially in the rear. The boot is no bigger than the three-door's, either. However, being a five-door, it's easier to get into the back seats.

You don’t have to spend too much time wading through the equipment list: of the Sportback's four trim levels, the most basic SE offers easily the best value for money as well as the best driving experience. As standard, it comes with alloy wheels, DAB digital radio, a 6.5-inch display screen, air-conditioning, electric windows all-round and heated electric mirrors. Subsequent trim levels add sportier touches and, crucially, increasingly firm suspension that does nothing for the ride quality. A host of expensive options completes the model's equipment story.

There are no reliability concerns with the A1 Sportback, while on the safety front the car was awarded the full five stars by Euro NCAP. To back that result up, it has six airbags plus a collection of electronic safety controls, including traction and stability control and ISOFIX child-seat mounts.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4 / 5

All engines in the Audi A1 Sportback offer superbly low running costs thanks to clever technology

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

All Audi A1 Sportback engines are smooth, quiet and offer plenty of power

Interior & comfort

2.4 / 5

The Audi A1 Sportback is impressively comfortable for a small car, although high-spec models have firm suspension

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

Audi A1 Sportback model has more space than standard A1, but is still far from spacious

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

Audi A1 Sportback provides five-star safety and top dependability

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"On our twisting test route, the two-cylinder mode didn’t have a chance to engage very often, but when we encountered a straight or downhill section of road, the switchover was imperceptible. Considering how popular stop-start has become, this fuel saving technology looks like being the next big thing."
4 / 5
"Back-seat passengers get slightly more head and shoulder room than they do in the three-door A1, thanks to the Sportback's extra height and redesigned rear seat. The wheelbase remains the same, so legroom and boot space are unchanged."
4 / 5
"Exclusive to the Sportback is a contrasting roof to differentiate it from the 'smaller' A1, as well as a clever new engine that has the ability to shut down two of its four cylinders for super-economical driving."
What owners say 
3.25
3.3 /5 based on 8 reviews
50%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

4 star   0
3 star   0
Last updated 
21 Apr 2016
Own this car? Leave your review.