2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
The Audi A1 is not suitable as a family carriage. As a sporty top model, the smallest from Ingolstadt fulfills pretty much every wish.
By Sabine Stahl
An overpowered, expensive small car with a small trunk and two narrow rear seats? What at first sounds like another superfluous litter from the automobile manufacturers turns out to be a real collector's item in the case of the Audi A1 1.4 TSI with S Line sports package.
Not practical, but nice
As such, it is not always practical, but it is all the more beautiful. Even if the top model of the currently smallest Audi, which costs 25,120 euros, costs almost as much as a VW Scirocco 1.4 TSI, which also comes with a dual clutch transmission: All those horsepower-hungry big city dwellers without a family connection, for whom the A1 is made, will hardly regret the purchase.
Visually, the little one is an Audi as it is in the book: The entire front section of the A1 corresponds to the often criticized, but loved by fans of the brand, "Audi uniform look" with the oversized radiator grille, the single frame, and the narrow LED-backed headlights. The side view with the partly color-contrasting roof bars and the sheet metal bottom flared far to the rear is a matter of taste.
Hardly any space in the rear
The sloping roof may look sporty. However, the trunk volume suffers from the sleek body shape. Expressed in numbers, this means: 270 liters with full seating. If the backrests of the two individual seats in the rear are laid flat, 920 liters can be taken on board and stowed behind the tailgate, which requires strength when slammed shut. It also has two major drawbacks: a tiny trunk and rear seat occupants with craned necks.
But anyone who criticizes this has probably not understood the purpose of the car. Because the small Audi is not about big purchases for the family and certainly not about securing Isofix child seats in the rear, even if that is theoretically possible. The A1 driver thinks in bigger categories.
Power like a big one
For good reason: Anyone behind the wheel of the Ingolstädter quickly forgets that they are sitting in a miniature Audi. The driver feels that the space is generous on all sides. The comfortable and well-shaped seats have a firm grip on his upper body. The dashboard is very clear, even if the protruding rotary controls on the center console are not likely to suit everyone's taste. The long front doors of the three-door car make reaching for the belt on the B-pillar very cumbersome for small drivers sitting far forward. It therefore requires an torso that is easy to turn. Even when getting out of tight parking spaces, the long doors don't exactly cut a good figure. Rather, they demand this from anyone who has to squeeze through the narrow openings when getting out.
You would want a little more commitment from the heated seats on cold days. The two-stage system takes a long time to get up to operating temperature and could easily make a little more fire under the driver's bottom. On the other hand, the Ingolstadt-based company kindles a real fire when the right foot has felt the gas pedal and exerts gentle pressure. Then the A1 top model with its 136 kW / 185 hp develops as much power as a big one, but only has to move the mass of a small car.
Two driving modes
The little one is particularly nimble if you push the lever of the seven-speed DSG transmission to "S". And if the foot on the accelerator is stretched, there are hardly any limits to the dynamics. Because the gearbox turns the engine mercilessly on the highway to 5000 rpm. Only then can the next course do its work. In the city, one clutch lets the other do the work at 4000 rpm.
Anyone who now fears that this will cause too much excitement on the Sunday morning roll-fetch ride in the sleepy suburb has not yet discovered mode "D". Because with this, the Mini-Audi shows that it can do different things: the game of changing gangs now starts at 1800 rpm. The A1 then rolls quietly and economically on the still deserted streets. When stopping at traffic lights, the front-wheel drive is completely silent in both driving modes. Because then the automatic start-stop system is activated, which very gently turns off the fuel tap on the engine. If you want to continue, you shouldn't be in too much of a hurry, however, because a brisk change from standstill to driving is too much for the system. There are brief but noticeable delays.
Tightly tuned chassis
When driving overland, the advantages of the powerful and compact Audi dwarf come into their own. The short wheelbase and the super direct steering allow the little one to wag around every bend as if he had apprenticed with ski legend Rosi Mittermaier. The turbo-charged 1.4-liter four-cylinder hangs on the gas like a calf on its mother's udder and seems to really enjoy the high revs provided by the automatic. The chassis is tightly tuned, which goes well with the sporty image of the Ingolstadt junior and only rarely leads to rough bumps in the driver's back. The brakes are sensitive and react quickly if things go too fast.
The greed of the direct injection engine for high engine speeds and that of the driver for renewed acceleration inevitably lead to more stops at the gas station attendant. Depending on the route profile, the test car approved between 7.7 and 8.5 liters. The manufacturer specifies 5.9 liters. The high-speed small car completes the sprint to 100 km / h in 6.9 seconds, and fun is only over at 227 km / h.
Expensive means of transportation
The equipment is lavish, as you can rightly expect for this price, and includes, in addition to the usual such as air conditioning and CD radio, a spoiler, aluminum look in the interior, a sports leather steering wheel and a mirror-polished double exhaust pipe.
Conclusion: The top version of the Audi A1 is undisputedly an extremely expensive means of transportation that will rarely leave the city limits anyway. But let's be honest: Is there a better way to invest your money in steel than with this chic little car runabout? (mid)