A lit­tle taste of bub­bly

Audi has fi­nessed the traits of the Polo GTI into a Mini Cooper-bust­ing pre­mium hatch

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - NEIL DOWL­ING neil.dowl­ing@cars­guide.com.au

THE Audi A1 Sport is priced hard up against the Mini Cooper S Chilli but Audi claims its hatch is faster and more fuel efficient. Let the battle be­gin.

‘‘ Sport’’ says it all— a higher-per­for­mance model that uses all the strengths of the seven-month-old A1 with the oomph nicked from par­ent com­pany Volk­swa­gen.

But it’s too crude and not en­tirely ac­cu­rate to say that the A1 Sport is just a more lux­u­ri­ous and ex­pen­sive ver­sion of theVWPolo. Yes, they share a plat­form and the ba­sic driv­e­train. But they drive very dif­fer­ently.

VALUE

Com­pare the $27,790 three­door Polo GTI with the three­door A1 Sport at $42,500 and you’d feel dud­ded at the traf­fic lights.

But they’re not the same car. Buy theVWand you don’t get the Audi’s level of equip­ment, fin­ish and styling, though the op­tions list is ex­ten­sive and ex­pen­sive. Even the colour-con­trast­ing roof arch— the de­sign high­light— is an ex­tra $720.

LED day­time lights, rear park sen­sors, 17-inch al­loys, Blue­tooth with voice con­trol and cli­mate con­trol air­con­di­tion­ing are stan­dard. Satnav adds $3600.

DE­SIGN

Built like a bub­ble and with ex­tremely short over­hangs, the A1 is blunt, efficient and per­fectly pack­aged for cities. It seats four— though it gets a bit tight in the back— and has great lug­gage space thanks to its flex­i­ble seat­ing.

TECH­NOL­OGY

The Polo’s tur­bocharged and su­per­charged 1.4-litre small-squirt four gets an ex­tra 4kW in the Audi (now 136kW) and its weight is down to 1190kg (Polo is 1189kg).

The en­gine is sub­lime. In the Audi, it feels qui­eter and less fre­netic, pos­si­bly due to ex­tra sound dead­en­ing, but cer­tainly has more than enough go. Only the seven-speed S-tronic twin

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