Audi A1 Sportback hatchback

Price  £15,150 - £23,450

Audi A1 Sportback hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

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

At a glance

The greenest
1.6 TDI Sport 116PS 5dr £18,200
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. It loses some of that car's sporty, compact proportions as a result, but is also a lot more practical. In any case, it's available in a range of colours, including contrasting (roof and body) schemes and some expensive, exclusive shades, too, which all help give it a lift.

A MINI is more fun to drive and a Volkswagen Polo is more practical, not to mention slightly cheaper. However, the little Audi's image and feeling of rock-solid build quality is likely to impress buyers more. Its strong image means the car will lose less of its value as it ages, meaning you’ll get more for it when you sell – or pay less than you might imagine per month on a personal contract purchase (PCP) finance scheme, where resale values are an important factor.

The A1 Sportback comes with a choice of petrol and diesel engines. Our favourite among the petrols is the more powerful 1.4-litre. Both manual and seven-speed automatic versions of this engine can return as much as 58.9mpg and cost £30 a year to tax. The single diesel – a 1.6-litre – is more economical still at 80.7mpg and costs nothing to tax.

Unusually for a diesel, it's no more expensive than the petrol to buy, so it could be the one to go for if you value good fuel economy and relaxed cruising ability. However, if you prefer sharper responses and livelier performance, the 1.4-litre petrol, which can do 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds compared to the diesel's 9.4, is worth a look. The top-of-the range S1 quattro is faster still, with a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds, but it's a very different car from the others.

The A1 is an agile and grippy car with well-weighted steering. It's fun to drive around town and a good motorway cruiser, too. However, the ride is on the firm side – quite uncomfortably so on S line versions.

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

Owner rating:

4 star   0
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Last updated 
22 Oct 2015
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