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The A1 is indeed an interesting car, I would say, that has come out from Ingolstadt. Audi markets it as the "condensed form of Vorsprung durch Technik", which for the most part, this holds true for the A1. It does feel pretty much an über condensed version of an A3 Sportback/A4.
For a start, the A1 while having a 1.4 TFSI engine, this isn't the same as the one in the Volkswagen Golf TSi or even the Polo TSi, in fact this is actually the one without the supercharger. For the most part, this is a really good thing as unlike the 1.4 TSi Twincharged, this engine is relatively reliable with no major issues. It is not the fastest, but it does have reasonable power and considering the compact size, it can move pretty well, with overtaking power being there. One of the plus sides of the 1.4 TFSI is just like any other Volkswagen Audi Group car, economy is fantastic. Then again, this is one of the benefits of a DCT with a turbo engine.
S tronic is a gem of a transmission. Take out the potential reliability issues, it shifts absolutely fast and crisp. While this A1 doesn't have the "brap" DSG burps/exhaust overrun sound (which is fantastic) that are pretty common under hard acceleration in the VW GTi cars, the clean shifts are just a joy to have especially when pulling away. Interestingly, unlike say the Volkswagen Polo TSi, the A1 doesn't have the infamous DSG chatter/judder in traffic.
Built quality is unmistakably Audi. After 30k kms, no rattles so far, nor has anything fallen off, which is a good thing really. Everything feels well made, and put together, unlike some MINIs like the Countryman built in Malaysia. It just feels so well made, like a bank vault. Equipment wise, the A1 has pretty much everything you need in a premium compact car. Nothing has been missed out, besides navigation but to be honest for me that's not a big issue really.
Good body control is another thing the Audi does really well. At highway speeds, it feels very planted, at no point do you feel like the chassis is floaty or wandering off, unlike on some smaller cars. Even in the curves, there isn't much roll, but you can feel in the bumps the A1 is a bit on the firmer side. However this isn't as bad as say the MINI Cooper S which is pretty rough on the bumps.
A really interesting thing about the A1 is how everything is pretty accessible in the engine bay unlike in many modern cars. In fact, the oil filter is right on top, which is super convenient.
Cramped interior is one thing the A1 doesn't really follow through with the Audi theme, as generally Audis are very uncomfortable. It's really tight, and it's pretty difficult to make yourself comfortable. The boot is also really tiny, and can't even fit a medium suitcase which is a shame really. In fact, I would say the new MINI has a slightly better boot capacity.
The transmission while so far has been good, there are some question marks in regards to the reliability of the system. Also, the jumpiness of the DSG is there, and it's pretty annoying in traffic. There is a bit of roll back on a slope, again a typical S tronic / DSG character. The only way around is by actually having an auto hold feature but the nature of the mechanical parking brake in the Audi makes this not possible.
While well built, the A1 does lack the wow factor of Audi interiors. For example, there isn't much inlay work in the interior unlike things like the A4 and A6. Audi is known for some lovely inlays, so this is indeed a surprise since it should be a baby Audi. MMI positioning too is off for me as the controls for the MMI is mounted vertically, meaning to input data you need to stretch forward, which is highly annoying.
One thing it does carry over from other Audis though is there is not much steering feel. Seriously, it's as communicative as a dead fish, unlike say a MINI steering.
Improvements in the steering feel and the transmission reliability would be fantastic. Probably a better packaged interior as well, in the next A1.
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