It’s a tough job, branding. A strong brand helps sell cars, and the more cars sold, the more money is made. Ka-ching. But if the reason people are buying those cars is because of a brand’s prestige, then dilute it at your peril; you risk chinking away its charms and, suddenly, things can look a bit sticky. Less ka-ching.
Audi, on the other hand, is happy to call a spade a spade and stick its name on a broader spectrum of cars, including, back in 2010, its smallest car to date, the Audi A1. This wore the famous four rings proudly, and to make sure there was no brand dilution, it was bestowed with cutesy looks and an interior so upmarket that the Queen could’ve held court in it. Sure, underneath it was based on the Volkswagen Polo, but to those admiring it from afar, or to you inside, there was no question: the A1 was a pukka Audi.
Time to test that theory once again, then. This is the second generation of the A1, and once again it’s based on Polo underpinnings. This time, though, the cars it has to compete with are stronger than ever, from cousin Polo to its arch nemesis, the Mini 5dr. Even cheaper offerings, such as our favourite small car, the Seat Ibiza, and the current Ford Fiesta, make compelling propositions, too.
So, is the A1 still upmarket enough to justify spending a premium on it? Read on to find out, and afterwards head to our New Car Buying page to check out what stonking deals we have on all new small cars.