The Audi A1 is the most direct rival for MINI in the super-mini market. Don't be fooled by the smaller size, the A1 is packed with all the features of any big car. The drive of A1 is great, the interior is of high quality and even the entry level models come with a decent amount of kit. The first look of an Audi A1 will make you want one. Alloys come as standard with all models. Audi also gives plenty of options to customise the look including silver roof rails and many metallic colours to choose from. A1 also gets LED day time running lights and you can also choose the decals which will make it look like a Quattro rally car.
These options are great, but going for these means the car will cost much more than the standard versions. The sporty S Line models are equipped with a sporty body-kit and suspension and the 17 inch alloy-wheels. The Audi A1 might not be the best super-mini to drive but the driving experience is still enjoyable, thanks to the excellent road grip, much responsive steering and great body control. It has a firm suspension and it gets even stiffer in Sport and S-line models. It shows itself while driving on the bumpy streets, but take it on to the motorway and you are in for a comfortable ride with great all round visibility making Audi A1 very easy to park car.
The Audi A1 engines are smooth and refined. The engine options include 1.2 litre with 85bhp, a 120bhp 1.4 and 183bhp 1.4 in petrols and a 1.4bhp 1.6 litre diesel. Don't underestimate the 1.2, it gives a perfect drive on the motorway and provides the best steering among all models thanks to its light weight. The 120bhp 1.4 returns the best cost and performance balance. Apart from the 1.4, the engines get a 5 speed gearbox, which has a six speeder or seven speeder twin clutch auto. Audi A1 has been awarded with five star Euro NCAP rating. The standard safety features include six airbags and electric stability control. It uses the same underpinnings of Seat Ibiza which has a good reliability record. Audi scored 15th position in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey.
The interior boasts all Audi features. The materials used are of high quality and plastics are soft to touch. The air vents are chrome trimmed. Overall the cabin has a premium feel and A1 beats easily its direct rival MINI in this regard. The most eye catching is the pop up LCD display which comes with the top end models. The Audi 1 is much spacious than the MINI, there is enough leg and head room for the rear and front passengers. The rear seats can easily accommodate two tall adults. The Boot space is 270 litres-110 litres more than MINI- that increases to 920 litres when the back seats are folded flat.
Audi A1 gives an excellent fuel economy and the carbon emissions are much lower. The best performer is 1.6 diesel that returns an amazing 74mpg with 99g/km of CO2, keeping it just under the 100g/km barrier, hence it qualifies for free road tax. The 1.2 petrol gives 55mpg and emits 118g/km of carbon while 1.4 petrol posts 53mpg and emits124g/km of CO2. Audi offers fixed price service plans that help in keeping the running costs low. Plus A1 has good residual values. All of these factors make Audi A1 a good value for money super-mini.