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First Drive

First Drive: Audi A1 Sportback

The story:
Audi is one of few premium brands to offer a supermini. The A1 Sportback 40 sits at the top of the range and is only available in the S-Line Competition trim.
Category:Supemini
Key rival:Mini Cooper S
Audi A1 Sportback 40 TFSI
Price:£25,010
MPG:40.4mpg
Emissions:158g/km
On sale:Now

Topping Audi’s A1 Sportback range is the ‘40’ a 200hp 2.0-litre warm-hatch. At first glance, a CO2 figure of 158g/km is a little on the high side for a company car. However, for those firms using cars as a staff retention tool and company car drivers looking to cut costs but retain prestige and introduce a little fun into their lives the quickest A1 is an excellent way to go.

Sitting in the 34% BIK tax band sounds a little way from good, but with a competitive P11D price the monthly payment for a 20% taxpayer stands at a very reasonable £138 a month.

As with the rest of the A1 range the quick version offers an excellent all-round package. Interior space is good in the supermini sector with decent room the rear seats for kids and there’s easily enough room for a week’s shopping.

First Drive- July 2020-Audi A1 Sportback- Image1The A1 40 is only available in S line Competition trim and only as an automatic. The S line Competition specification means the exterior has a more sporty look including a bigger rear spoiler and more aggressive front bumper design.

Aside from the styling, the reason you’d choose the A1 40 is the way it drives. Turn off the intrusive lane keeping assistance system and the steering is perfectly weighted and offers good feel to the driver.

As you’d expect from a 200hp engine, the A1 is quick enough to afford a fun drive without making the hatchback a handful. This is helped by the auto gearbox which, in Dynamic mode, is fun to use and offers the driver first rate control of how the car behaves.

The only, minor, detractor from the driving experience is the height of the driver’s seat which, in an ideal world, would be set lower.

The 2.0-litre engine also means the A1 makes light work of motorway journeys too and the small size means its easy to maneuver round town.

If your company car policy will allow it, it’s a car that’s very easy to love.

tristan young

The verdict

If you want a premium brand city car there’s not a lot of choice, that doesn’t mean half-measures for the smallest Audi, it’s a great, fun little car and with the 200hp 2.0-litre engine, it’s quick too.