2011 Audi A1 – First Drive Review – Car Reviews – Car and Driver

7 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Audi A1 – First Drive Review – Car Reviews – Car and Driver
Audi A1

2011 Audi A1

Audi introduces its Mini fighter, but not for American consumption.

By American standards, the Volkswagen Golf#x2013;based Audi A3 is a little car. Not so in Europe, however, where the A3 is a legitimate family hauler. In other words, there is plenty of room in Audi#x2019;s European product portfolio for a car with tidier dimensions. Enter the A1.

Audi#x2019;s third attempt at the true small-car segment.

But does it back up this swagger with what#x2019;s under the hood? The A1 offers a choice of four turbocharged four-bangers: two diesel and two gasoline engines. The two variations of the 1.6-liter TDI, which make 90 hp and 105 hp, pull the A1 forward with some authority and both get over 60 mpg in the European cycle.

Petrolheads get a choice of a 1.2-liter, eight-valve engine producing 85 hp and a 1.4-liter 16-valver turning out 122 hp. Neither of these engines can muster enough power to jerk the car forward with much enthusiasm, and we actually found the weaker engine to be more convincing. It offers almost diesel-like torque at low and medium rpm but is more responsive and smoother.

The 1.4 offers little meaningful extra oomph.

Audi A1

We sampled the 1.2 TFSI with the slick five-speed manual transmission and the 1.4 TFSI with its optional seven-speed dual-clutch box that delivers seamless shifts but none of the throttle blipping and general aural delight that Audi engineers bake into the TTS and S4. That said, the two gasoline-powered A1 versions, despite their lack of power, are fun to drive and serve up a sense of command and precision.

This feeling of control is enhanced by the A1#x2019;s excellent chassis setup. The electric power steering simulates a full hydraulic system with perfection and is very direct, too. Its aggressive ratio is complemented by Audi#x2019;s #x201C;electronic limited-slip differential,#x201D; which uses the stability-control system to brake wheels in order to generate forceful turn-in.

It#x2019;s Audi#x2019;s version of the Volkswagen XDS system, and it comes on every A1, not just on top-of-the-line models, like at VW. The A1 is neutral up to the limit, at which point the ESP system kicks in briefly if noticeably. It#x2019;s a friendly warning that your backside was just saved, but it doesn#x2019;t sanction you by taking off more speed than necessary.

There are two suspension setups. We like the standard suspension, and the sport suspension is even better in control and sharpness. Even so, it doesn#x2019;t beat you up.

If you want to max out your credit card, you can load up the A1 with extras unheard of in this vehicle class. We already mentioned the LED and xenon lighting options; there are also a panoramic roof, keyless entry, a selection of large wheels, and some impressive infotainment options. The A1#x2019;s top system is from Bose and includes a 465-watt surround-sound system with 13 speakers plus a subwoofer.

Audi has shoved the MMI-plus system into the dashboard, complete with a 6.5-inch color screen, voice activation, and a 20-GB hard drive for music storage. The level of integration is far superior to that of most other cars in any vehicle class. There#x2019;s one extra we#x2019;d wait for: the Polo GTI#x2019;s turbo- and supercharged 180-hp, 1.4-liter engine.

One of the worst-kept secrets in Ingolstadt is the imminent arrival of an S1 with this twin-charged powerplant.

Audi A1
Audi A1
Audi A1
Audi A1
Audi A1
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