Ever since Audi launched the original A1 a decade ago, the Ingolstadt-based marque has been criticized for going downmarket to rival BMW’s MINI brand. We’ve heard many people saying the A1 is nothing more than a glorified Volkswagen Polo and therefore not worthy of the Four Rings, let alone the premium it commands over its mainstream sibling.
There may be some truth in all of this, but the fact remains the A1 does allow younger buyers with limited budgets to dip their toes into the Audi family. From a business perspective, it’s a smart decision as it attracts a wider customer base taking into account the A3 Sportback is much more expensive. In domestic market Germany, the larger of the two hatchbacks costs an extra €6,500 if we were to compare the base specs.
Filmed by FastCarCommunity / YouTube at a dealer in Croatia, the car featured here is more along the lines of an entry-level version if we were to judge it solely by its engine. It’s the base turbocharged three-pot hooked up to a five-speed manual delivering a rather puny 95 horsepower exclusively to the front wheels. We’re dealing with the Audi A1 S Line 25 TFSI variant, which can also be had with the S Tronic and 116 hp in the 30 TFSI model. For city use, you don’t really need more than the 1.0 TFSI, but there’s always the option of the four-cylinder, 2.0-liter VW Polo GTI engine with a healthy 200 hp in the 40 TFSI S Tronic model.
Engine aside, it’s a smart-looking hatch thanks to the Missano Red Pearl Effect paint with a contrasting black roof, S Line exterior package, and the optional 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the Audi Virtual Cockpit is a must-have option on virtually (pun intended) all Audi models, unless you have a soft spot for the good ol’ days of analog dials.
The cloth seats and traditional handbrake lever reflect the A1 Sportback’s positioning at the bottom of the lineup, but overall, it’s not too shabby for an entry-level premium car. It certainly has what it takes to go up against the MINI and we’d argue the model has a future in Audi’s range, even though critics would beg to differ.