Vijay Pattni17 January 2012

First drive: Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI

Vijay Pattni reports back on the first five-door baby Audi

In the year of its launch, 2010, Audi sold 1,662 units of the A1. Last year, it shifted 18,506. Proof, if you needed it, that despite our concerns over its dynamic abilities, you lot have been mopping it up like its going out of fashion.

Now, Audi has released the A1 Sportback, a five-door version of this little hot cake. Simply put, the roofline has been lengthened by 9cm, and it's 6mm wider and taller, which equates to 11mm more headroom and 13mm more shoulder room inside. UK-bound Sportbacks will get a rear bench for three as standard, with a two-seat offering as an option. It also comes with a contrast roof to set itself apart.

In reality, it's a bit of a squeeze at the back, which is odd because it's got such a big-car feel you forget it's actually a city car. Sure, you can fit four adults in, but the rear passengers might need help waking up numb legs over longer journeys. Better for a couple with small children.

Dynamically it's the same as the three-door; so you're looking at a refined, cosseting, comfortable but ultimately uninvolving drive, with accurate but numb steering feel. Still, later this year, Audi will offer a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol with 138bhp and cylinder cut-off technology, and a 2.0-litre diesel, alongside the regular A1 petrol and diesel models.

Prices start at £13,980 for the 1.2-litre TFSI Sportback with 82bhp (a buzzy little motor that makes the A1 actually feel like a proper city car), rising to £21,270 for the 182bhp petrol. Model on model, there's a £560 premium for the five door.

Verdict? Those looking for a classy, comfortable and luxurious city car will think it's a lovely thing. Sadly though, the drive lets it down and that lack of thrills will deter the Stigs amongst you.

 

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