Audi A1 hatchback - Interior & comfort
The Audi A1 is beautifully designed and well equipped inside, but materials could be more tactile
Choose the Audi A1 on 17-inch wheels or smaller and it proves a very smooth, quiet companion for long motorway journeys without sacrificing agility on twisty roads. The low interior noise levels are particularly impressive – we could barely hear the 1.0-litre engine of our test car at all.
While the latest A1's exterior is a sharper, sportier reimagining of the car that went before, its interior treatment is a much greater departure, and a very welcome one. It has virtually nothing in common with the first A1, and really does embrace cutting-edge technology – even the entry-level Technik has a fully digital instrument cluster.
The way the A1's exterior subtly hints towards Audi's rallying heritage is reflected in the way its dashboard wraps around the driving seat, putting you right in the centre of the action. We're a little disappointed by the standard of interior plastics, though – while the very topmost surfaces are made from a tactile, soft-touch material, those elsewhere are rather less appealing to touch.
Audi A1 dashboard
The latest Audi A1 represents quite a leap from its predecessor when it comes to on-board technology. You sit behind a fully digital dashboard, which can be upgraded to Audi's customisable 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit display as an optional extra. Likewise, the standard 8.8-inch infotainment screen grows to 10.1-inches if you order the optional Technology Pack.
While the A1 eschews the high-tech dual-screen setup found in the larger (and far more expensive) Audi A6 and Audi A8 saloons, many will find its physical climate control buttons easier and more tactile to use.
If the default black and grey dashboard is too drab for you, you can colour code the air vent surrounds, door handles and gear selector to coordinate with the more adventurous upholstery choices in the A1 colour and trim catalogue.
The Technik is the entry-level Audi A1 model, but you wouldn't guess it from the standard equipment list. It includes 15-inch alloy wheels, as well as LED front and rear lights that include a signature 'sweeping' indicator animation. There's an 8.8-inch infotainment screen that controls the DAB radio and Audi's smartphone integration system – this incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is standard and incorporates Audi pre-safe, a system that can recognise hazards ahead, even in foggy conditions. There's also lane-departure warning and a speed limiter as standard.
The Sport has larger alloy wheels and sports seats, plus rear parking sensors and cruise control, while the S line has a racier setup with firmer suspension and a muscular-looking bodykit. On top of this, there's the S line Style Edition which boasts wheels and Audi logos in a distinctive bronze finish, while the S line Contrast Edition comes in an even more eye-catching metallic yellow, with black badges and wheels.
Sportiest of all is the S line Competition, a package only offered with the 40 TFSI engine. It adds adjustable suspension dampers and red brake calipers.
If that wasn’t enough, you can choose a top-spec Vorsprung trim with a black pack, sat nav, half-leather seats and heated front seats.
An Audi Technology Package includes the bigger 10.1-inch MMI infotainment screen and 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument panel. There are also personalisation options to bring a little extra visual interest to the interior and the Comfort and Sound Pack adds an 11-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, a system to make parking easier and heated front seats for around £1,000.