Audi A1 Sportback S-Line
"The good news is Audi deems the S-Line Competition pack to be the best value offering in A1 range. The five-door Sportback costs no more than the three-door but certainly bolsters the cars practicality. The donor car is the 1.4-litre Attraction with a standard dual-clutch auto at a cost of $32,250. The S-Line is $35,500 and adds two-inches to the rim size with 17-inch wheels, fog lights, LED tail lamps, a black exterior highlights pack, including contrasting roof arch and roof, body-coloured interior vents and rear parking. Metallic white or silver paint is standard, along with pearl-effect red and black. Audi says the add-ons represent $8000 of extra value at a $3250 price increase. Fitting the 17-inch wheels to the donor car will set buyers back $2600, so it is a relatively good deal. The A1’s only prestige rivals are the $34,900 Mini Cooper Clubman and three-door Fiat Abarth 500 at $34,990.
This pack is all about the looks - the standard 90kW/200Nm turbo 1.4-litre engine is unchanged. The engine is still good for a 9-second flat run to 100km/h and the turbo force-feeds peak torque through the front wheels from just 1500rpm. So go easy on the accelerator off the traffic lights or the front tyres will start to chirp. The seven-speed auto flicks through the gears as soon as possible - unless it is in sport mode - and that contributes to a frugal 5.3 litres/100km. Push it and it is possible to double that figure but normal driving should return somewhere in the low sevens. Bluetooth and cruise control don’t require ticking an options box.
The A1’s chassis is based on the Volkswagen Polo but every dimension is changed to accommodate Audi’s interpretation of what passengers want in a light car. So it is substantially wider and marginally shorter than its sibling. That equates to more elbow room for back-seat passengers - and yes, average-sized adults can be ensconced in the back without doing themselves a permanent injury. Fitting bigger wheels is one of the simplest ways to improve a car’s appearance and the 17s neatly fill out the arches on the A1, imbuing it with an upmarket, sporty look. The interior is a step up from other light cars in terms of look and feel - as you’d expect at this price and of a car fitted with the four-ringed badge.
The solid look and feel of the Audi translates into a five-star crash rating. ANCAP rates it at 32.75/37. The car scored 14.9 out of 16 in the offset crash test and 13.85 out of 16 in the side impact crash test, where there was found to be “a moderate risk of serious chest injury for the driver”.
Little cars make a lot of sense in cities and the Audi is up at the top of the pack. There’s enough zip to easily merge into traffic, though if the engine stop/start is active, it takes a moment to reignite. Once underway the auto transmission is all but invisible: occupants will hear rather than feel gear changes. The steering has reasonable weight without being a sports rack and carpark manoeuvring is so easy it almost makes the rear sensors redundant.
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)
The Audi’s overall refinement makes light work of the prestige opposition. At $35,500 it is still a lot of money for a little car - in sheet metal terms, the A3 Sportback is just $100 more with the same drivetrain- but the S-Line Competition definitely improves the value and looks."