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2014 Audi A1 review | Sportback S-line Competition

Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the Audi A1 Sportback S-line Competition and answers the big questions.

Audi A1 Sportback S-line Competition 3.5

We turn the spotlight on the Audi A1 Sportback S-line Competition and answer the questions, including the most important -- would you buy one?

What is it?

This is the baby Audi five-door hatch (Sportback) with the looks of the high performance 136kW Sport but a more mild-mannered and economical engine. It offers addition "go-fast" kit at a tempting price plus all the other things that make Audi a desirable car to have on your driveway.

How much?

Goes for $35,500 - pretty sharp when you look at the package.

What are competitors?

Not many really, possibly certain BMW 1-Series and A-Class Benz but not much else. Pug GTi and new Renault Clio RS perhaps door dependent.

What's under the bonnet?

Power comes from a direct injection 1.4-litre petrol with turbocharging and variable valve timing and lift. Transmission is a seven speed S-Tronic dual clutch system driving the front wheels only.

How does it go?

Pretty good apart from the tardy restart from stop/start system which also has to release the hill hold.

Takes way too long to fire up and move away.

The engine has plenty of kick and is responsive while generating minimal noise or vibes. Has a sporty drive feel.

Is it economical?

Audi is a front runner in this regard as proven in recent cross Australia economy drives. This baby gets 5.3-litres/100km on 95 petrol - better if you're mostly on the highway.

Is it green?

Yes-ish

Is it safe?

Five stars.

Is it comfortable?

The interior is up to normal Audi spec - meaning top notch and it feels like you're in a larger car than the tiddler size A1. Plenty of kit, decent audio, Bluetooth x 2, infotainment system, climate control, all of which contribute to a pleasant drive.

What's it like to drive?

Apart from the hesitation to start the engine and let off the hill hold function, pretty good. It corners tenaciously, has plenty of kick and a relaxed cruise. The suspension soaks up rough roads but some noise penetrates due to the lower profile tyres. Extra styling kit outside lifts its appearance to look like the hotrod 136kW sport.

Is it value for money?

Around 40 grand on the road is steep for a tiddler but look what you get for the dosh and it's less of a shock. Plus, the A1 is arguably the best looking car in this size category - with a healthy allotment of Audi luxury and safety kit .

Would we buy one?

Too rich for us but we like it. Would probably go for the real 136kW A1 Sport at $4500 extra......
 

Audi A1 Sportback S-Line Competition

Price: from $35,500
Warranty: 3years/unlimited km
Capped servicing: No
Service intervals: 12 months/15,000km
Resale: 52 per cent
Safety: 5 stars
Engine: 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder, 90kW/200Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto, FWD
Thirst: 5.3L/100km (95 RON), 122g/km CO2
Dimensions: 3.95m (L), 1.74m (W), 142m (H)
Weight: 1230kg
Spare: Space-saver

RIVALS

a250

Mercedes-Benz - see other verdicts

Price: from $49,490 (A250 Sport)

Engine: 2.0-litre turbo 4-cyl, 155kW/350Nm

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto, FWD

Thirst: 6.6L/100km, 152g/km CO2

Fiat Abarth 500 - see other verdicts

Price: from $34,990

Engine: 1.4L four-cylinder, 118kW/201Nm

Transmission: 5-speed manual, FWD

Thirst: 6.5L/100km, 155g/km CO2

Volkswagen Polo GTI - see other verdicts

Price: from $27,790

Engine: 1.4-litre super/turbo 4-cylinder, 132kW/250Nm

Transmission: 7-speed DSG auto, FWD

Thirst: 6.1L/100km

Peugeot 208 GTi - see other verdicts

Price: from $29,900

Engine: 1.6L four-cylinder turbo, 147W/275Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual, FWD

Thirst: 5.9L/100km

 

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