The A1 is available with four engines – a 1.0 and two 1.4-litre petrol, plus a 1.6-litre diesel. A decidedly more powerful 2.0-litre petrol motor is exclusive to the S1. The 1.0 makes for a very decent run-around, although either 1.4 is better suited to motorway journeys. The diesel is keen enough and a popular choice, but it makes for a noisier companion. All engines are available with Audi’s excellent twin-clutch automatic gearbox.
Audi A1 Hatchback ride & handling
There are three trim levels, each one bringing firmer suspension and bigger wheels as you step up the range. Even the standard car is firm-ish, and probably recommended over the edgier Sport and S line models. Whichever suspension you choose, the A1 is a decent prospect to drive and while the steering isn’t up to much, there's more than enough grip to compliment the car's small size. The much-changed S1 is a predictable step up.
Audi A1 Hatchback refinement
The 1.0 petrol reveals a raspy voice when revved hard, and the 1.6 diesel is gruff almost from idle, but Audi does a fine job of keeping the worst of each in check. It’s a similar story with road and suspension noise, which is noticeable, although probably superior to most of its rival in the supermini class. The S1's exhaust note is more gravelly, which is as it should be.