Audi A1 35TFSI - Driven

As its entry level model, Audi’s little A1 has a lot to offer. This is the second generation A1 and Audi has certainly upped its game.

The A1 reviewed was the 35 TFSI version, which has a 4-cylinder, 1.5-litre motor, with a small turbocharger to enhance performance and a respectable power output of 110kW. The transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch automated unit, which operates smoothly.

The finely--balanced chassis means the A1 is a lot of fun to drive. With optional big wheels wearing low-profile tyres, and tight suspension, the ride can be a bit harsh over speed bumps – as with many lightweight cars – but the handling and road-holding are very enjoyable.

Inside, the littlest Audi is a great place to be driving from. Aside from some hard plastic finishes, it’s all excellent quality – which has long been an Audi trait – and comfortable. A six-footer is challenged in the back, but no moreso than in any other similarly sized car. The big screens of the ‘Virtual Cockpit’ with class-leading technology and detail highlights such as the ‘mood lighting’ make the interior a very good environment.

With wireless phone charging, voice control for the excellent navigation system and Autonomous Emergency Braking, the tech is up to date.

The A1 can run on 95RON fuel and sips economically. The stop-start system when idling works effectively.

Certainly Audi has got the A1 styling sharp and athletic looking, an improvement over its predecessor. The Python Yellow colour of the test car suited it well in a sea of grey traffic. It has a very fine metallic fleck, really only visible in sunlight.

The A1 35 TFSI tested starts at $35,290. Audi also offers a smaller engine version of the A1, with a slightly lower equipment level, for about $3000 less as well as a range topping 2-litre turbo at $46,250, so there’s plenty of choice and a big options list.

The whole package adds up really well and unlike many other smaller cars, the A1 can put a smile on your face as a fun, engaging car to drive. The A1 was a car that was easy to get used to and enjoy. It’s surprisingly unusual for car makers to get the mix right, especially in lower-priced cars where too often there are gaps in a car’s competency. But Audi’s designers and engineers can be proud of this one…

For anyone looking for an entry point to ownership of a quality brand of car, the A1 makes a pretty compelling case. A big ‘thumbs up’ for the A1.

Copyright Paul Blank -