The Audi A1 is the smallest luxury car Audi makes and was first introduced in 2010. The first A1 got a refresh in 2015 and it was kept in production all the way until 2019. In 2020 Audi finally released the new A1 on the market which aims to raise the bar when it comes to subcompact luxury hatchbacks.
The A1 is typically being powered by either a 3-cylinder or a 4-cylinder engine with power between 86hp and 260hp. The engine is usually mated to the Audi proprietary S-Tronic gearbox that enables the small hatchback to be both swift and efficient.
Design-wise, the A1 seems subdued and fairly in line with the rest of the Audi lineup. The first A1 looks a bit more rounded, while the new one utilizes a more angular design approach. Interior-wise, the first A1 looks fine, but the new one looks futuristic and luxurious.
Reliability-wise, the 2nd generation of the A1 seems to be better than the first, but the most common issues are associated with excessive oil consumption, electrical issues, fitment and rattling issues, turbocharger issues, and issues with the timing chain.
Audi A1 – The powertrain
The 2010 Audi A1 lineup kicks off with the 1.2TFSI engine that offers 86hp and is the weakest engine that can be found in a post-2000s Audi. The first-gen A1 is also available with a few 1.4TFSI engines with power outputs between 122hp and 140hp. The A1 2.0L TFSI offers 256hp and it comes with Quattro AWD as standard.
The post-facelift Audi A1 abandons the 1.2L TFSI and it adds the Audi S1 to the lineup. The 1.4L TFSI engine can now be maxed out to 150hp with the facelift model. The Audi S1 Quattro offers a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo with 231hp. All of these can be had with either the S-Tronic DCT or a manual in some markets.
The new Audi A1 lineup starts with a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine with 95hp, yet this engine can also be found with either 110hp or 116hp. The new A1 can also be had with a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine with 150hp while the range-topping A1 comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder and upwards of 200hp.
The A1 is built to be efficient, compact, and aerodynamic which means that it maxes out at 60MPG for the most efficient engines.
The Audi A1 – Design and chassis
The first generation of the Audi A1 is now starting to look a bit older while the new Audi A1 looks futuristic and daring, especially if painted in a more fun color. The exterior design of both generations is highly dependent on the exterior styling package and the headlights.
Interior-wise, the 1st generation of the A1 is now a bit dated, but can still wow you if it is equipped decently. The first-gen refresh has slightly improved the interior design, but most of the main surfaces have stayed the same. The new A1 looks a lot better from every angle, especially because it comes with the Audi proprietary Virtual Cockpit.
The suspension and chassis of the A1 are tuned towards comfortable driving with a relatively stiff approach. The A1 is designed to be a nippy city car which means that it is relatively soft, but it does not roll in the corners.
Audi A1 – Reliability and common issues
The first generation of the Audi A1 is not as reliable as the post-facelift and the 2nd generation car. Either way, the A1 is decently reliable as a whole, but only if maintained correctly. The most common Audi A1 issues are associated with the turbocharger, the electricals, the timing system, high levels of oil consumption, and fitment and rattling issues.
Audi A1 – Value and practicality
The first generation of the Audi A1 is now a fairly affordable car and it rivals the likes of the VW Polo for example. The post-facelift A1 still holds its value nicely which means that it costs a lot more than the first-generation A1. The new A1 is nearly as expensive as the Audi A3 which means that it’s truly a niche product.
Practicality-wise, the A1 is a city car and thus is not all that good when it comes to carrying more people and stuff. 4 adults will struggle to get comfortable in the A1, especially because they are likely not going to be able to put their stuff anywhere.
Is the Audi A1 worth it?
The Audi A1 is worth it if you are in the market for a subcompact luxury hatchback and you are able to fit in one comfortably. The A1 might be the entry-level Audi, but it is a true Audi, at least as far as the new A1 is concerned. Either way, for a city get-around, the A1 is actually a really good idea.
Given the fact that some A1 models are able to achieve an astonishing 60MPG, it makes them great for constant usage. Besides being nippy, well equipped, and efficient, the A1 also comes with all the features you’d expect from a true Audi.
Is the Audi A1 a family car?
Even though it is an Audi, it is not really a family car. The A1 is small inside and out which means that it isn’t well isolated, nor accomodating for anyone besides a younger family with a child. Even so, the A1 feels a bit too thin and fragile while also costing a fair bit of money which means that you can find a much better family car at this price point.
While the A1 does come with some family-friendly features such as easy-to-reach IsoFix anchor points, wide-opening doors, a stellar safety rating, there are better options out there.
Is the Audi A1 too slow?
As mentioned a few times throughout this article, the A1 can be had with a few engine choices ranging from mere 80-ish hp to upwards of 200hp. It’s hard to imagine what it feels like to drive a 21st-century car with such low power figures, but the reality is that it isn’t all that big of an issue.
It is true that you will find the car slow while merging on the highway or while attempting to overtake someone on the highway, the reality is that the A1 is adequate for what it is.