What is it like on the inside?
This is where the A1 earns its keep. The cabin is smart, clever, well packaged, good to get on with and very nicely made. Most of this you expect from an Audi, so let’s start with the drawbacks. It still has a manual handbrake, and that’s incongruous when there’s so much tech on display. The plastics that form the door tops and cupholders are surprisingly cheap, scratchy and brittle. You notice particularly because the door tops line up with the lovely soft touch dash.
It’s no longer a supermini, either. Now this is perhaps not a bad thing. The A1 is fractionally longer than its predecessor, but packaging has been transformed. The new chassis has bought a 94mm longer wheelbase, increasing cabin space and shortening the overhangs at either end. There’s now room for adults in the back with adequate knee- and generous head-room, and boot space is up 65 litres to 335 litres. It’s practical, unusually so for an Audi, but it doesn’t feel compact or as able to slip through traffic. Still, a cheaper way of getting the usability of an A3 for less cash.
The driving environment is the A1’s biggest plus. Good seats, steering wheel from a TT, natural driving position and Audi’s never-matched Virtual Cockpit fully digital dash. The screen resolution isn’t as good here as in pricier Audis, but it’s functionality is outstanding. So too the centre dash infotainment screen. Just be aware it’s now touchscreen only – there’s no separate controller. It’s arguably the best of its kind in this class, and Audi has done a good job of bringing it out further into the cabin so you don’t have to lean forward to jab the screen. The human finger isn’t the most accurate jabbing device, though.
Audi do like to charge for things. To get the high resolution dash, wider main screen and other options, you need to spec the Technology Pack – and that’s £1,650 (you also get wireless charging and online services). And ideally you’ll want to add the £995 Comfort and Sound pack to get the upgraded Bang & Olufsen 11-speaker stereo, heated seats and more comprehensive parking sensors.