In-depth reviews

Audi A1 hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Audi A1 blends long-distance smoothness with enjoyable manners on twisty roads

Today's superminis are remarkably good to drive – in fact, the Ford Fiesta is arguably easier to have fun in than the bigger Ford Focus. The Audi A1 has a hard job on its hands to match its SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo stablemates for driving enjoyment while still achieving a more premium feel.

The steering has a satisfying weight to it, without being hard work, but perhaps the best news is how smoothly the A1 rides, even on the bigger 17-inch alloy wheels of our 1.0-litre 30 TFSI test car. Along with impressive refinement, the A1 also resists leaning when you take a corner enthusiastically. The sportier setup of the 2.0-litre 40 TFSI was rather firm, though, and it was probably too extreme for some passengers to be truly comfortable.

Many will opt for the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and given the slightly notchy nature of the manual gearbox, that's probably a wise choice.

Audi A1 Petrol Engines

The range kicks off with a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox badged 25 TFSI. It develops 94bhp and can do 0-62mph in 11 seconds. You can choose it on Technik, Sport and S Line, but we’d recommend upgrading to the 30 TFSI if you can afford it.

The 1.0-litre 30 TFSI develops 109bhp and gets from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds, although it somehow feels slower than that from behind the wheel. It would probably feel quicker were it not so high-geared for economy reasons – you can almost reach the national speed limit in second gear. It’s available on all the main trims but not the various S Line special editions.

There's also a 148bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol 35 TFSI with active cylinder deactivation, which feels markedly more eager than the 30 TFSI. Zero to 62mph is achieved in a zippy 7.7 seconds. It’s paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and is offered on all models except Technik.

The 197bhp 2.0-litre 40 TFSI was fitted with a six-speed auto and also had an artificial engine sound pumped through the car's speakers, which we found rather unconvincing. The 40 TFSI was the fastest model in the range, dispatching 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds.

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