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Audi A1: live launch
TG's Tom Ford drives Audi's hotly tipped Mini-rival
They have the flags here too. But they are the wrong ones…
New Audi A12 looks a bit odd…
Brown with contrasting white rails? It looks pretty good actually… First impressions? Er… Ok. Damning with faint praise a bit, but not hugely charming from the off. Very ‘nice’ but I was looking for defined character and it feels confusingly like the Polo I was driving recently (unsurprisingly).
And the options mount up…
So, sampled a few engine options (there’ll be a VW Polo GTI-baiting 180bhp version later), and the Audi A1 is… perfectly nice. But nothing extraordinary. Built well, nice enough looking, tidy handling and refinement blah, blah. Quite cute with the right options, feels pretty grown up but so far unconvinced.
If you want funky you’d buy a DS3 and if you want a driving tool you’d still be tempted by a Mini with the brilliant multi-link Z-axle - the A1 and all the clones are torsion-beam rears. What I can see is people who already like the Audi brand having a small car option. More thoughts later…
You can colour contrast some of the tinsel in the A1, too. So you can have a red car with silver rails (looks oddly like a Citroen Pluriel to me), brown with white etc. And you can clash the interior bits with different coloured vent surrounds and seat trim. The ‘Wasabi green’ on one of the test cars I was driving today sounds awful, but strangely isn’t when you get in it for a bit.
And there’s a pop-up MMI screen in the dash top too. Though embarassingly I spent five minutes looking through the menus to find the button to drop it, only to realise that to drop the screen into the dash you have to push it. Manually. With your hands. Too much time in an A8 there.
So far I enjoyed the 103bhp 1.6 TDi manual the most. The decent slug of torque (250Nm) doesn’t really need six speeds (it’s a five speed ‘box) and the suspension seems to work well on the 17-inch wheels. A good compromise between style and comfort - you can go down as far as 15s (look rubbish), or up to an 18-inch rim (waaaay too hard).
Prices? Range starts at £13,145 for the 84bhp, 1.2 TFSi SE to £18,280 for the 1.4 TFSi S-Line with S-Tronic double clutchery.
And there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m just finding it hard to get excited… Anyone else?