Why The Audi A1 185 Is Nearly The Greatest Sizzling Hatch Everybody’s Forgotten About

After not too long ago driving the brand new Mini Cooper S and being a lot much less impressed with it than the remainder of the Automotive Throttle staff (CT editor Alex’s video assessment is coming quickly), I used to be decided to discover a higher different. Certain, in the event you’re keen to compromise a bit of on premium high quality and badge snobbery there are automobiles like the superb Ford Fiesta ST, however what if that’s not an choice? Audi’s A1 in 182bhp (185ps) 1.4-litre TFSI kind appears to suit the invoice properly. With a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds it’s about as quick because the Mini, and likewise comes from a swanky model.

Earlier than the arrival of the stonking four-wheel drive S1, this front-wheel drive motor was the A1 range-topper. With a lot of the world’s motoring press busy singing the praises of the S1, it’s grow to be one thing of a forgotten automotive within the vary. However does it deserve extra recognition?

Audi - Why The Audi A1 185 Is Almost The Best Hot Hatch Everyone's Forgotten About  - Blog

A 3-door A1 with the 182bhp 1.4-litre engine will set you again £21,420 (£22,040 for the five-door Sportback we examined) and comes with the very good S-Tronic dual-clutch auto gearbox as customary (sorry, no handbook). That’s £1270 greater than a Mini Cooper S with the auto ‘field choice ticked. Definitely when it comes to high quality, it’s value the additional. In lots of posher automotive maker’s ranges, the standard drops noticeably the additional down the pecking order you go. Not so right here; the A1 is superbly put collectively, and has a nicely thought-out inside with every little thing in precisely the suitable place.

Audi - Why The Audi A1 185 Is Almost The Best Hot Hatch Everyone's Forgotten About  - Blog

“It’s one of many best-sounding four-pots the VW Group makes in the intervening time”

The engine, in the meantime, is an impressive little factor. It’s the ‘Twincharger’ model of the 1.4-litre TFSI, which seems throughout the VW Group vary in associated automobiles just like the Seat Ibiza Cupra and the VW Polo GTI – each of which have a contact much less energy at 178bhp – and it’s jolly intelligent. The supercharger provides a wholesome enhance to low-end torque, after which the turbocharger takes over.

The result’s 182bhp and 184lb ft or torque, and no discernible lag. It’s extremely punchy, significantly after 4000rpm, and sounds implausible given its small dimension. It emits a throaty roar which will increase in quantity in the event you put the A1 in sport mode, and is among the best-sounding four-pots the VW Group makes in the intervening time. It’s additionally economical; after driving very fastidiously on a motorway run we have been pushing a 50mpg common. Not dangerous.

There’s no must panic concerning the lack of a handbook choice, because the S-Tronic DCT system is great and the beautiful little ‘pop’ on every shift isn’t half dangerous, both.

Up to now, so good, however the 185 has one deadly flaw, which you discover the primary time you attain a nook. Good steering hasn’t at all times been Audi’s robust go well with and within the A1, it’s significantly uninspiring. You are feeling disconnected from the entrance wheels, which ends up in a disappointing driving expertise. The firmer suspension added by the S Line bundle – the one trim degree this automotive is offered in – doesn’t add a lot composure both.

Audi - Why The Audi A1 185 Is Almost The Best Hot Hatch Everyone's Forgotten About  - Blog

The range-topping A1 can be an costly automotive, significantly given the miserly gear ranges. Issues like correct local weather management (handbook air-con solely as customary), sat-nav and any color that’s not black or white all value further.

Audi - Why The Audi A1 185 Is Almost The Best Hot Hatch Everyone's Forgotten About  - Blog

Spec simply these three and also you’ll have added virtually £2000 to the already excessive asking worth.

Dial again the aggression a bit of, and the Audi makes for a swift option to cowl floor, however you’ll be able to’t shake that nagging feeling that it’d be so a lot better if the steering was sorted out. It’s a automotive which leaves you feeling a bit of arduous done-by every time you drive it, with driving dynamics that fail to do the very good engine justice. It’s no rival to the a lot sharper Mini Cooper S – even when it does have a greater engine – so it’s no shock that it’s a automotive that makes up round simply two per cent of A1 gross sales, in comparison with over 40 per cent for the 120bhp model of the 1.4.

Audi - Why The Audi A1 185 Is Almost The Best Hot Hatch Everyone's Forgotten About  - Blog

The 185 model of the A1 was really as a consequence of obtain the S1 badge, however Audi ended up saving that honour for the extra highly effective, four-wheel drive automotive launched this 12 months. If you happen to’re a eager driver, you’re a lot better off stumping up the additional money for the S1. These much less fascinated with final driving dynamics are well-advised to go on the 185 in favour of the less-expensive, lower-powered 1.4. They arrive with the identical sensible high quality and coveted badge kudos, however with out the costlier engine choice that’s at odds with disappointing steering within the 185 model.

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