New Audi A1 vs new Mini 5dr

The original Audi A1 was small but luxurious and great to drive. Has it repeated, or bettered, that trick with this all-new model? The recently updated Mini 5dr is the best point of reference...

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What Car? team
10 December 2018

Audi A1 driving
Audi A1 driving

Our verdict

The revised Mini hatchback appears to have actually slipped backwards a little. It’s noisier on the motorway than previously and, as before, doesn’t ride particularly smoothly, but you now can’t mitigate the latter issue as cost-effectively, because the price of adaptive dampers has nearly doubled. That said, it certainly provides flexible performance and top-notch interior quality, so it feels pretty swish.

The new Audi A1 racks up a couple of extra stars over all the categories. Its notable strength is how stress-free it is to drive, with a soft ride and hushed air on the motorway. It has fewer weaknesses than the Mini, too. However, it no longer feels like it’s a cut above, and with less to differentiate it from the cheaper and better-equipped Volkswagen Polo, it’s a fine car but not the distinctly premium option it once was. 

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1st Audi A1 Sportback - 4/5

Audi A1 rear

For Smooth ride; tidy handling; quiet at speed; impressively strong resale values

Against Poorly equipped; doesn’t feel any more premium than the Volkswagen Polo

Read our full Audi A1 Sportback review here

Find a great Audi A1 Sportback deal

2nd Mini 5dr - 4/5

Mini 5dr rear

For Strong pace; smooth engine; first-class infotainment; high-quality interior

Against Choppy ride; so-so handling; imperfect driving position; poor safety kit

Read our full Mini 5dr review

Find a great Mini 5dr deal

Specifications: Audi A1 Sportback 30 TFSI Sport

Engine 3cyl, 999cc, turbo petrol

List price £20,010

Target price £19,723

Power 114bhp @ 5000-5500rpm 

Torque 146lb ft @ 2000-35000rpm

Gearbox 6-spd manual

0-60mph 9.1sec

Top speed 126mph

Gov't fuel economy 57.6mpg (WLTP combined)

CO2 emissions 111g/km

Specifications: Mini 5dr Cooper Sport Comfort Pack

Engine 3cyl, 1499cc, turbo, petrol

List price £21,830

Target price £20,459

Power 134bhp @ 6500rpm

Torque 162lb ft @ 1480-4200rpm 

Gearbox 6-spd manual

0-60mph 8.5sec

Top speed 129mph

Gov't fuel economy 47.1mpg (WLTP combined)

CO2 emissions 123g/km

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