Small lux­ury pack­age

Its hum­ble ori­gins are well dis­guised un­der Audi class

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­


The idea of pay­ing $30,000-plus for a small car would have been thought lu­di­crous only a few years ago, but such has been the shift in the mar­ket that it’s no longer out of the ques­tion.

As buy­ers down­size from larger pres­tige mod­els some mak­ers are build­ing small cars with the works.

Audi’s A1 came in at the top end of the small-car mar­ket but pre­sented the down­siz­ing pres­tige car buyer with just about ev­ery fea­ture from a larger model. The A1 shared its plat­form with the VW Polo, a re­lated ri­val and an ac­com­plished lit­tle car.

There was just the one body style, a chunky three-door hatch that fea­tured Audi’s dis­tinc­tive grille style and four-ringed badge.

In­side there was ad­e­quate room for four adults to be con­veyed in com­fort, and there was a gen­er­ous boot and a 60-40 split-fold rear seat to add to its ca­pac­ity and flex­i­bil­ity.

Three mod­els made up the range, start­ing with the en­try level At­trac­tion and then via the mid-range Am­bi­tion to the range-top­ping Sport. Engine op­tions were petrol and diesel. The petrol op­tion was a 1.4-litre turbo four-cylin­der (90kW/ 200Nm) but im­por­tantly the torque was avail­able from 1500rpm for a smooth, flex­i­ble drive.

The diesel op­tion was a 1.6-litre turbo that pro­duced 66kW and 230Nm. It was no fire­ball but with that sort of torque it made for a com­fort­able driv­ing car.

For gear­boxes, buy­ers could choose be­tween man­ual and DSG au­tos. When the petrol engine was cho­sen it came with a six-speed man­ual, the diesel had a five-speeder, but both could be had with the sev­en­speed DSG.

All three mod­els were well equipped, the fea­tures be­fit­ting a pres­tige model.


Audi has been the as­pi­ra­tional badge for many Aus­tralians tired of the BMW/Benz stran­gle­hold on the pres­tige busi­ness.

As with any of the Euro­pean brands, Audi pres­tige comes at a price that goes be­yond the sticker on the new car.

Ser­vic­ing them is more ex­pen­sive and the cost of parts is gen­er­ally higher than brands from other parts of the world.

One of the most im­por­tant things to do is to lo­cate a rep­utable and com­pe­tent in­de­pen­dent me­chanic who will not only be able to ser­vice your car well, but also much more cheaply than the fac­tory dealer. Also, when things go wrong most in­de­pen­dent ser­vice me­chan­ics who re­ally know their stuff will be able to bring in much more af­ford­able parts.

Sharp me­chan­ics to­day use the in­ter­net to source parts world­wide and they are usu­ally able to save their cus­tomers a heap on the cost of re­pairs.

The things to watch out for with the A1 are rough run­ning on cold start, oil con­sump­tion on the petrol mod­els, and odd be­hav­iour with the DSG.

VW uses the same DSG trans­mis­sion and there are many own­ers un­happy with it and the re­sponse they have re­ceived from VW when they have re­ported prob­lems.

The most se­ri­ous is­sue has been the car cut­ting out at ran­dom, some­times at the most danger­ous of times when driv­ers are cut­ting across traf­fic streams while mak­ing turns, on busy free­ways etc.

VW re­cently an­nounced a re­call of some ve­hi­cles with the DSG trans­mis­sion and Audi has joined in.

It should also be noted that the petrol engine uses the more ex­pen­sive PULP.


Stylish, prac­ti­cal small car.

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