Sportback 1.6 TDI Sport
Audi-speak for five
doors instead of three in its slick A1
all in a body that is
more or less exactly the same size
with the same compact footprint
and the same running gear as a
GIVEN ALL OF THE ABOVE, it's no surprise that two out of every three A1 customers
will be choosing the Sportback over the three-door version. For an extra £500
over the three-door A1, the Sportback gives you a mass of extra practicality,
versatility and convenience. And not at the expense of looks, either…
Generally speaking, five-door models never look quite as sleek as their three-door
but the A1 proves the exception to the rule. A contrasting coloured roof
in black, grey or silver
creates a stand-out look. Go for the Samoa Orange paintwork of our test car
and you can make it stand-out+. If this colour combo was a Facebook page you'd
be getting a mass of likes.
Swing open a door and you're presented with the usual beautifully-built Audi
in other words, quality trim and switchgear and an easy-to-read instrument cluster
(with glowing white numerals) and a welcoming upmarket interior.
gloss black air vent surrounds, knurled aluminium rotary switches for the A/C
and the pop-up MMI display screen on the dashtop (use it with the MMI controls
under the two central air vents to access much of the A1's driver and media
information) are all classy touches.
A contrasting coloured
roof in black, grey
or silver creates a
Go for the Samoa Orange
of our test car
and you can make it
Plenty of glass makes for entertained passengers as well as fine visibility
for the driver to the front, side and even through the rear screen.
Sporty, supportive seats upholstered in leather with cloth centre panels hold
you without squeezing and, combined with generous steering wheel, seat height,
seatbelt and lumbar adjustment, ensure that just about anyone can set a first
rate driving position.
In the front there's good room in all directions for your head, feet, shoulders,
elbows, legs, knees, and shins; further improving driver comfort and convenience
is an auto-dimming mirror, a height-adjustable armrest between the front seats,
one-shot windows, AirCon that pumps out super-chilled air guaranteed to make
sticky summers a thing of the past, and a light and accurate gear change action
for the five-speed manual 'box.
The multifunction leather-rimmed steering wheel is very tactile and great to
grip. Another regular Audi feature makes a welcome appearance
the selectable digital MPH reading in the instrument cluster between the analogue
speedo and rev-counter.
Plenty of in-cabin storage bins and cubbies, including a box under the front
passenger seat for 'secure' out-of-sight storage and a large bin under the front
armrest, help keep the cabin tidy.
Along with the stylishly logical fascia there's also a decent helping of kit.
Our test model was a Sport (the middle trim between the entry SE and the range-topping
S line) which includes AirCon, Sports front seats upholstered in a pleasing
leather/cloth mix, four power windows, decent hi-fi/CD, MMI (Audi's foolproof
Multi-Media Interface), driver's information display with a 6.5-inch retractable
screen, auto lights, rear parking sensors, daytime running lights, sports suspension,
an electronic stability program, and six airbags.
on board is, obviously, far easier for your rear passengers than in the three-door
actually, all four doors open wide. Once seated, they can relax: headroom and
legroom is fine for Mr & Mrs Average and there's room for a youngster between
them although for daily use it's best as a four-seater
unless, of course, you're carrying three children side-by-side in the back.
Six-footers will fit
depending on the size of the person sitting ahead of them. Alternatively, just
use the rear seats as a convenient shopping shelf!
The handling is definitely sporty thanks to
a composed and grippy front-wheel drive chassis thats alert and
agile rounding corners and reassuring through the esses...
the rear passengers is a 270-litre boot (the same size as in the three-door
A1). And this is where the five-door's extra versatility comes into its own:
drop down the 60:40 split rear seatbacks (they don't fold completely flat; but
flat enough to accommodate cargo) and you'll have an extended loadbay of approximately
50 x 36 inches that's able to swallow 920 litres of 'stuff'.
Having those two extra back side doors certainly makes loading and unloading
the full cargo bay even easier. For any overspill, there are storage compartments
under the boot floor, which is also home to a tyre repair and inflation kit.
And should you ever need to tow anything, the Sportback will pull a handy 1,200kg.
Our Sport came fitted with a set of optional 17-inch seven-blade alloys but
even with the standard Sports suspension
stiffer spring and damper settings over the SE model
it rode comfortably enough (still firmly, but not crashingly so). However, if
you want 'softer', request the Dynamic suspension (a no-cost option) when you
order your Sportback and you'll be sorted.
The A1's handling is definitely sporty thanks to a composed and grippy front-wheel
drive chassis that's assured enough for some entertaining driving when you're
always the best time to have some fun. It feels alert and agile rounding corners
and reassuring through the esses
plus there's some out-of-sight hi-tech gadgetry to hold back understeer when
pressing on some.
full-on 'sport' usage you'll want the 1.4 TFSI petrol unit (120bhp, 138bhp or
182bhp) with an S tronic twin-clutch seven-speed gearbox. The 1.6 turbodiesel
we tested, helped by a light and accurate gear change action, was game enough
(0-62mph in 10.7 seconds), although its forte is economy: officially 74.3mpg
on the combined cycle. To help it achieve figures this good, a Start/Stop system
and it works unobtrusively in the background.
Its fine cruising
motorways which is one
very good reason for
road tax-exempt turbodiesel that might,
if you drive it right,
return in the region of
that's not to say you can't punt the 1.6 around:
103bhp won't set the tyres on fire but its 184lb ft
between 1,500 and 2.500rpm
of punchy torque keeps it 'game on', particularly around town and in the mid-range
out on the open roads.
it after sampling an A1 powered by a TFSI petrol engine and you'd say its soundtrack
can be gruff. Nonetheless,
it's fine cruising motorways
is one very good reason for choosing this road tax-exempt turbodiesel that might,
if you drive it right, return in the region of 70mpg.
best was 56.1mpg at the end of a week driving over mixed roads. A figure that
will no doubt appeal to the most likely buyers
small (upwardly mobile) families. As will the running costs, made better by
an affordable fixed-price servicing contract.
As well as looking chic on your drive, being frugal at the pumps and fun to
drive, the A1 gets you a big car feel that's as endearing as its neat footprint.
Audi A1 Sportback 1.6 TDI Sport | £17,160
Maximum speed: 118mph | 0-62mph: 10.7 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 56.1mpg
Power: 103bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2 99g/km