Review

Audi A1 Sportback hatchback

Price  £14,975 - £21,680

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 Sport 116PS 5dr £18,025
The cheapest
1.0 TFSI SE 95PS 5dr £14,975
The fastest
1.4 TFSI S line 150PS S tronic 5dr £21,680
Top of the range
1.4 TFSI S line 150PS S tronic 5dr £21,680

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

The term 'Sportback' promises something that looks like a coupe, but this version of the Audi A1 is actually a lot more practical than that. It has two extra doors, making it a five-door – one of the most versatile body styles and a lot more practical than the three-door A1. The downside is that it looks a little less sharp and youthful than its three-door sibling, but you can still smarten it up with some bright interior colours.

The Sportback isn't quite as much fun to drive as a MINI and although it's quite practical, a VW Polo is even better in this respect. The Polo is also cheaper and almost as well built as the Audi. But the A1 Sportback is a premium car that oozes class inside and out. Granted, it's not the cheapest small five-door hatchback you can buy, but its resale values are very strong, so you’ll get more of your money back when you sell it.

It's powered by some extremely efficient engines – the highlight being the sole diesel: a 1.6-litre that can do 80.7mpg and costs nothing to tax. However, the three small petrols are impressive, too, not least the most powerful, a 1.4-litre TFSI that can do 58.9mpg and costs £30 to tax. The optional S tronic automatic gearbox version is just as efficient and does 0-62mph in just 7.9 seconds.

The A1 Sportback is a light and agile car with plenty of grip thanks to an electronic differential. It also has well weighted steering that makes it good to drive in town and on open roads. It's really only spoiled by suspension that's a little firm on typically bumpy UK tarmac – even more so on the S line model.

This car's interior is stylish and beautifully put together, but it's not very roomy. The rear seats are particularly cramped, while the boot is no bigger than the three-door model's. All said, though, the five-door is the more practical and spacious car.

There are three trim levels: SE, Sport and S line. SE has all the important kit – DAB digital radio, 15-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch colour display and manual air-conditioning. Sport adds a sports steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, sports seats and stiffer suspension. S line adds even stiffer suspension, a body kit and 17-inch alloys. Our pick is SE, but be warned: options are plentiful and expensive.

The A1 Sportback is a reliable car – owners’ only serious complaints concern the stiff suspension and poor practicality. On the other hand, they praise its low running costs. It was also awarded the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests and bristles with safety kit, including six airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.

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 
3.1666666666667
3.2 /5 based on 6 reviews
50%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

4 star   0
3 star   0

Common problems:

Last updated 
28 May 2015
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