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.