2012 Audi A1 Ambition S-Line Review

By on June 7, 2012
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Deceptively small.

Good: Fast performance, responsive chassis, great looks, and roomy interior.
Bad: Center console area feels empty, perhaps the navigation screen should've been there.
Price: AED 124,900/ AED 138,400 (w/ S-Line suspension, seats and badges)
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Powering the 1.2 ton A1 is a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that produces 185HP @ 6,200 RPM and 250Nm torque @ 2,000 – 4,500 RPM. That’s an impressive amount of power in a car this small, which launches it from 0 – 100 k/mph in 6.9 seconds.

Complementing this impressive engine is an extremely smooth and efficient 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox. Under regular Drive mode the gearbox is unobtrusive, and pressing the pedal hard rewards with a uniform power push at low revs. Press it hard, or go into Sports mode, and the turbocharger on the little 1.4-liter really kicks in with full force as you hear engine scream, redlining all the way up to 7K RPM.

The chassis is rock solid, as it should be on a body this small. The 225 width Potenza S001 tires not only grip the roads like a magnet, the ESP and electronic limited-slip differential ensures that power deliver is optimally maintained to all wheels, no matter how hard you’re pushing the A1 around the corners. I won’t say it has the exact same go-kart like handling of the Mini, but it’s definitely up there.

While the A1 S-Line is in direct competition with the Mini Cooper S, let’s not forget that at the same price you get a similarly performing, but much more practical Golf GTI. If you’re in the market for a mini-compact car, and city driving is your main deal, then the Audi A1 is as compelling a car as the BMW Mini. It may not have as classic a shape as the Mini, but it certainly has the same free spirited power and handling as the latter. All you have to decide is which one looks better.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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