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Audi A1 Sportback: Test Drive Review

Date: 03 February 2012   |   Author: Craig Thomas

Audi's re-entry into the supermini market in 2010 with the three-door A1 has already proven a wise move.

Critical acclaim, awards and sales of 18,506 in its first full year on the market suggest that UK customers have taken the premium hatch to their hearts.

This success is set to be reinforced with the addition of a five-door variant, the A1 Sportback, when it goes on sale in the spring. The Sportback retains the A1's blend of premium-quality interior, entertaining driving characteristics and appealing design, but adds a number of new ingredients to make it even more desirable.

The first is the obvious added practicality of five doors, a third seat and extra headroom in the rear, and equipment options that include the wi-fi hotspot debuted in the A8 luxury saloon, which allows passengers to connect smartphones, tablets or laptops to the internet while on the move.

But of even greater interest to the fleet market is the addition of two new engines to the line-up later in the summer. The 2.0 TDI adds greater performance to the diesel range thanks to its 143hp output, impressive economy (68.9mpg) and low emissions (108g/km).

Even more impressive, however, is a new development of the 1.4 TFSI petrol engine with cylinder-on-demand technology. At cruising speeds, two of the engine's four cylinders shut down, reducing fuel consumption: when the throttle is squeezed, the two unused cylinders come back into play instantly to provide more power. The whole process is imperceptible, with no discernable change in engine note or response. The only way the driver is aware this is happening is a message in the instrument cluster.

Better still are the resultant figures: 140hp, 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, 60.1mpg and 109g/km of CO2. This blend of performance and economy suggests Audi's belief that it can tempt diesel drivers back into petrol-powered cars is no pipe dream.

The Audi A1 Sportback is even more of a complete car than its three-door sibling, with the brand's new engine technology adding yet another dimension to an already attractive proposition.

Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD
P11D price£17,230 (approx.)
Model price range£13,980-£21,270
Fuel consumption60.1mpg (provisional)
CO2 (tax) 109g/km (15%)
BIK 20/40%
per month
Service intervalVariable miles
Insurance (1-50)group 16
Boot space min/max270/920 litres
Engine size/power1390cc/140hp
Top speed/0-62mph126mph/8.1 secs
On sale Summer 2012
VerdictThe new powerplant could
revolutionise the perception
and appeal of petrol engines
among fleet customers


The new powerplant could revolutionise the perception and appeal of petrol engines among fleet customers