Not as small as you think… the Audi A1

Small car in a big world. That’s what you may initially think when looking at Audi’s A1. But you’d be surprised to learn how much this hot hatch has to offer.

In a market dominated by American SUVs and luxury “big body” cruisers, you’d be forgiven for believing size matters. However, in the case of the A1, its quality demands the same respect given to cars with significantly bigger proportions.

The A1 could be the perfect urban commuter. Designed with city limits in mind, I decided to test the mini Audi where bumps, buses, traffic lights, pedestrians – you get the picture – can poop on your parade. 45 minutes into my drive, I was thinking size did matter after all, and in the case of the A1, being small is what made it a joy to drive. I could zip in and out of claustrophobic traffic with no effort… just the occasional beep of the horn to say “ahem, you’re leaning into MY lane”.

The interior is made from the same high-grade materials Audi uses in its other offerings, and as always they do not disappoint. The steering wheel is great with its molded edges providing little indentations for sporty-driving grip. The front windscreen is large enough for you to have a clear view of everything happening around you, and in a car of this scale, that’s a great thing.

Ergonomically and aesthetically, Audi did a fantastic job with the space available. Obviously, space in a car of this size does not usually come in abundance, however, I was able to comfortably fit three adults so four would have been no problem.

The 7-speed S tronic transmission is fantastic once you get up to speed. Moving from a standstill, it tends to hesitate a bit when light on the throttle, but that completely disappears once your off. The S tronic then becomes silky smooth, working well with the sporty 1.4 TFSI (turbocharged) 4-cylinder engine which produces 122 bhp. That’s more than enough power, trust me, as the A1 is surprisingly quick.

The car handles brilliantly. Considering the A1 is front-wheel drive, you do tend to rake up a bit of understeer if you approach a corner (or in my case a roundabout) too fast. If you just lift off the throttle, you feel like the Audi will respond by swinging its tail around for you, which it does to a certain degree. Balancing speed into corners is key. A major relief was the absence of torque steer – a major issue with front-wheel drivers – when you plant your foot on the gas. That made the A1 that much better!

The A1 has the potential of attracting many young and trendy buyers away from Audi’s competitors. It really is an impressive offering wrapped up in a delightful little package; starting price is KD6,495. If you’re looking for something similar or within this price range, I highly recommend you go and check it out.

Thanks to Fouad Alghanim & Sons for the opportunity!

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10 Comments on “Not as small as you think… the Audi A1”

  1. 6are8 Says:

    Fun car to drive, especially in Kuwait, where you can easily manoeuvre between all the single-handed, lean-oriented, so-called “drivers”.
    The feedback, what I like to call the “exhaust burp”, when up-shifting in the range of 3400 to 3800 rpm is particularly entertaining as well 

  2. The Stig Says:

    The Price is somehow good. I liked the car and your report overall! nicely done. And I guess it would be a better option over the Fiat 500

  3. wow the car isn’t as small as i thought it was!

  4. I have rented this marvelous machine when I was in south of france last summer, honestly, one of the best cars I have driven in that size.. Mine was diesel, so it was even better economically, I think that with time our countries will be needing this size because the traffic is getting worse by the minute..

  5. Miss Good Egg Says:

    I don’t like Audis, I dunno why :/

  6. JW Hayes Says:

    The perfect size and it’s an Audi. Win-win!

  7. el wehbi Says:

    @6are8: The “exhaust burp”, as you refer to it, was a really nice touch when pushing the car. Almost felt like I was driving a TT at times.

    @The Stig: Thanks man! Glad you liked it!

    @3sistersinkuwait: Not too small, for sure… just right.

    @Kuwaiti Boys Toys: Hmm… a diesel-powered A1 sounds like a lot of fun!

    @Miss Good Egg: It goes back to preference; however, I must stress Audi have built some great rides in recent times.

    @JW Hayes: I’m guessing you’re a fan then? lol

  8. Mathai Says:

    Its a nice cute little car but so very expensive. I think a limited edition Seat Leon Cupra would cost only half as much and its from the same VW family 🙂

    Btw nice job with the reviews, we want more! 😀

    • el wehbi Says:

      Thanks Mathai :D!

      The Seat Leon Cupra is a cool car for sure; I think Audi is able to price it higher because of the build quality (interior and mechanicals), as well as the brand name.

  9. Very nice review! and the pics are great! Keep up the good work …

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