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Frank Bullitt

Audi A1 Sportback 1.6TDI Sport

Incredibly, this is the first A1 I have ever driven - I think they've been very popular for so long that the dealer doesn't get stock to out on the courtesy car fleet.  I'd have liked to try the 1.4TFSI but this is my first spin in the 1.6TDI (I think).

Getting into then car, the driving position after some fiddling is very good, the wheel, pedals and seat relationship excellent - the lumbar adjustment is manual and on the backrest, also quite awkward to get to which means you need to be at an awkward angle to operate it so you need to keep going backwards and forwards, a pain really.  The seats are very nice though and perfectly comfortable. Mirrors adjusted and I notice how basic the specification is, manual air conditioning no comfort pack (auto lights and wipers, cruise, parking sensors etc.), the plastics all feel nice enough but lower down they are not as nice as larger Audi's or, frankly, the A2. The dials are nice and clear although DIS always seems to operate differently on various models so it took me a while to set up how I want.

Turn the key and...bloody hell, I can see what the compelling argument for diesel-haters is; what a horrible din, for a moment I was genuinely shocked expecting a reasonably small and lightweight 'clackety' noise, decibels wise it might be similar to the A2 but one has a nice 3-pot thrum, the other sounds like a bag of spanners being dragged down the road.  At lower speeds the engine noise is a right pain in the proverbial, although it settles down once over, perhaps, 20mph.  The gear change is quite nice but it almost feels like the engineers have worked very, very hard to make it not feel like that bag of spanners being put through a Mulinex, the change itself felt positive but as it engaged there was always a feeling there's a Scania trying to get out, the clutch was also unsophisticated.

On the move things improve, the engine quietness down and like many diesels it had no 'charm' and with only 105bhp very little punch but it was perfectly capable of picking up speed well enough and with gearing meaning 2000rpm at 70mph in 5th it actually does quite a good job of hiding the very widely spaced ratios, it would happily do 30mph in 4th despite pulling at barely more than 1000rpm.  The steering was genuinely impressive, really good feedback and weighting with a nice positive turn-in, I'd love to try the petrol; in the roundabouts it was very faithful and honest, not fun as such but incredibly well engineered.

The ride was OK, I assume this one had the sports suspension fitted (delete option on the Sport I think), but it would pick out imperfections too keenly for me - like the A6 I had before the road noise is simply unacceptable and the 16" wheels are not that large overall.

There was no space behind me but as a family of 3 we could happily cope with the size, no problem, and the small boot could be resolved with a roof box for trips away.  

Overall I quite liked much of it but the Stasi-Cell specification and uncouth pig-iron ruined the overall experience, a 1.4TFSI Sport with some well chosen options would be much, much more appealing.

I've decided I'm a Citroen man though; the DS4 is simply, in every way, a much better car. Before anyone mentions they are not direct competitors, the DS3 I had last year was also much better.

Sadly for Audi, I'm not tempted to replace my A2 with one.

Dr. Hfuhruhurr

Probably the worst spec for an A1 - the petrol one I tried a few years ago was a lot nicer, and other than three doors, looked almost identical to that - same colour, same wheels. But I also prefer the DS3.
Alf McQueef

Interesting review... I for one have never worked out how big A1's are - they look quite a bit smaller than I could ever get along with. Given current car prices though, the S1 is almost a bargain, for someone that likes small cars.

It is very frustrating that people worked out how to make a petrol engine - even a small 4 cylinder one - either sound nice or near silent ages ago, but diesels don't seem to be coming along that much. There was a lot of fanfare about common rail and so on, but in basic refinement terms not a lot seems different to me.
Big Blue

An X3 diesel passed me in the Hospital car park last week. Sounded like a bag of spanners in a tumble dryer.

I had an A1 hire car before they arrived in the UK. A PETROL one. It was very good indeed and I had a good comparator in my late father's Polo, for comfort and ambience if not for the engine. It did feel a notch or two up the scale.
PhilD

I've assumed that the bigger 6 and 8 cylinder diesels now sound ok, particularly BMW, Merc etc.
Roadrunner

The V6 diesel in my Benz is a bit dieselly at idle, although in a not too unpleasant six cylinder way. Once on the move it is almost silent and makes a nice V6 growl when prodded.
TreVoR

My four pot diesel sounds like a broken David Brown tractor which is probably unsurprising!

I like the sound of the Land Rover TDV8.
Bob Sacamano

Neighbour to us has had a couple of new RR Sports and they just sound like someone is tumble drying hammers as they pass by.
PhilD

TreVoR wrote:
My four pot diesel sounds like a broken David Brown tractor which is probably unsurprising!


Mine too, its quite depressing sometimes! It makes me think about petrol next time but I can't stomach 20 odd mpg
Alf McQueef

I have heard some nice-ish and mostly non offensive sounds coming from 6 and 8 pot diesels, and some 5 pots (like in the Evoque up the road) sound increasingly refined - but that's all warmed up, and moving. Even the 6 pots and so on, brand new, sound as dieselly as ever - especially from the outside - from cold and when idling. It's clearly a particularly hard engineering problem to overcome. Then again 4 pot petrols with direct injection can sound very clattery as well, especially on startup... And we call this progress!
PhilD

Much less bothered about on the move when tyre, wind, the radio, and the rugrat are more important factors!
Frank Bullitt

Alf McQueef wrote:
...and some 5 pots (like in the Evoque up the road) sound increasingly refined...


Very impressive as the Evoque is a 4-pot!

From the outside it sounds like a diesel but the DS4 has a quiet engine and the sounds isn't unpleasent when revved but never going to be sonorific.
Martin

Roadrunner wrote:
The V6 diesel in my Benz is a bit dieselly at idle, although in a not too unpleasant six cylinder way. Once on the move it is almost silent and makes a nice V6 growl when prodded.


Sounds very familiar, but over 4,000rpm its clearly a BMW straight six and has a lovely (if a bit quiet) growl.   It's quieter and less diesel like in the 5 series than the 3 series and of all the cars I tried, only the A8 was close in terms of smoothness and refinement.

However, anyone who says their diesel doesn't sound like one is fibbing!

An Evoque was gunned past me earlier today and it sounded very rattly, I hope it's a lot better in the XE.
JohnC

Martin wrote:
I hope it's a lot better in the XE.


I very much doubt it will be, but that probably doesn't matter when it only kicks out 99g/km of CO2.

I was pricing up an XE last night and the diesels are pretty competitive but the 240hp petrol is soon up near £39,000 with necessary extras and the 3 litre S is just shy of £50K when you play with the extras a bit, although I did get one I could live with at £48.5K.

Maybe you can help with the headlights Martin - they don't seem to come with headlamp washers as standard so does this make them the lower powered and thus pretty useless Xenons?
Roadsterstu

PSA diesels seem to be among the quietest. Our Astras at work are not too bad but Corsas are hideously noisy. The V50 always sounds quiet after a day at work. And that, in itself, isn't an especially quiet car.
Roadsterstu

JohnC wrote:
Martin wrote:
I hope it's a lot better in the XE.


I very much doubt it will be, but that probably doesn't matter when it only kicks out 99g/km of CO2.

I was pricing up an XE last night and the diesels are pretty competitive but the 240hp petrol is soon up near £39,000 with necessary extras and the 3 litre S is just shy of £50K when you play with the extras a bit, although I did get one I could live with at £48.5K.

Maybe you can help with the headlights Martin - they don't seem to come with headlamp washers as standard so does this make them the lower powered and thus pretty useless Xenons?


I had a good play on the XE configurator last night too. Specced up "my" XE F to a rather cool 58k. Osmium Blue with 20" Propellor wheels and black leather/suede interior. I also noted the lack of standard washers on the lights.
JohnC

Roadsterstu wrote:
I had a good play on the XE configurator last night too. Specced up "my" XE F to a rather cool 58k. Osmium Blue with 20" Propellor wheels and black leather/suede interior. I also noted the lack of standard washers on the lights.


The one I did was blue too but not Osmium - it was the darker of the two metallic at £680 I think. The 20" wheels make a big difference to the appearance but I'm not sure what the ride would be like.

I think, as was said in other posts, give it 6 months after launch and we can start to see what the discounts are like. At £58K an M3 or M4 is an alternative, so it has to be a very good car.
Martin

Are you sure they don't have washers? I'd be really surprised if it only had the low output (25W) Xenons without the option of upgrading.  If the headlights output more than 2,000 lumens they are required by law.  Proper Xenons are about 3,000 lumens iirc, which gives you an idea of the difference.

At a similar price to an M3 it's too expensive, it's more like a 335i+ (M335i if you like) and the S4, which does make it a touch expensive.  If you want a fast Jaguar, you could get a new XFR for £51k and a nearly new one for even less.
PhilD

JohnC wrote:

I think, as was said in other posts, give it 6 months after launch and we can start to see what the discounts are like. At £58K an M3 or M4 is an alternative, so it has to be a very good car.


Indeed, you could save £5k and get this!

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/class...price-from/500/model/xf?logcode=p
PhilD

Martin wrote:


At a similar price to an M3 it's too expensive, it's more like a 335i+ (M335i if you like) and the S4, which does make it a touch expensive.  If you want a fast Jaguar, you could get a new XFR for £51k and a nearly new one for even less.


didn't see your post when I put that link up! As you say here's a XFR:

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/class...d-listing/dealer-id/6157/usedcars
Martin

The XE has proper Xenons, I'd have been amazed if it didn't.  Old style auto high beam though.....

Taken from the website:

Lighting Pack

The pack comprises Adaptive Bi-Function HID Xenon headlamps with cornering lamps that shine lights to the side as you begin to turn, allowing you to see more during night driving. It includes Intelligent High Beam technology that automatically dips the headlamps as cars approach and then switches back to high beam as they pass. The headlights also feature their own powerwash assuring maximum clarity and brightness at all times.


I specced an XE S to a sensible level (min spec I'd be happy with) and got it to £51k.
JohnC

Martin wrote:
The XE has proper Xenons, I'd have been amazed if it didn't.  Old style auto high beam though.....

Taken from the website:

Lighting Pack

The pack comprises Adaptive Bi-Function HID Xenon headlamps with cornering lamps that shine lights to the side as you begin to turn, allowing you to see more during night driving. It includes Intelligent High Beam technology that automatically dips the headlamps as cars approach and then switches back to high beam as they pass. The headlights also feature their own powerwash assuring maximum clarity and brightness at all times.

I specced an XE S to a sensible level (min spec I'd be happy with) and got it to £51k.



That's the optional lighting pack so I presume you need to upgrade then because there is no mention of washers with the normal headlights.
JohnC

PhilD wrote:
Martin wrote:


At a similar price to an M3 it's too expensive, it's more like a 335i+ (M335i if you like) and the S4, which does make it a touch expensive.  If you want a fast Jaguar, you could get a new XFR for £51k and a nearly new one for even less.


didn't see your post when I put that link up! As you say here's a XFR:

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/class...d-listing/dealer-id/6157/usedcars


That's a lot of car for the money but I don't think I could live with sub 20mpg and £450 road tax, even though my mileage isn't very high any more
PG

JohnC wrote:
That's the optional lighting pack so I presume you need to upgrade then because there is no mention of washers with the normal headlights.


Once you get Xenons as standard they do have washers - from the detailed spec of the R Sports -

BI-FUNCTION HID XENON HEADLAMPS WITH LED SIGNATURE DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS AND HEADLAMP POWERWASH

Light up more of the road ahead with premium bi-function High Intensity discharge (HID) Xenon headlamps. Sport a striking on-road style with the signature J-Blade LED daytime running lights, LED Positional Lamps and LED Direction Indicator.


The optional pack adds cornering lamps -
ADAPTIVE BI-FUNCTION HID XENON HEADLAMPS WITH CORNERING LAMPS

The Adaptive Front Lighting system gauges the speed of the car, as well as the angle of the steering wheel, and swivels the headlamps for improved visibility during cornering.
This option also features cornering lamps which operate when the steering wheel is turned and the car is moving to improve visibility at slower manoeuvring speeds.
PG

PhilD wrote:
Martin wrote:


At a similar price to an M3 it's too expensive, it's more like a 335i+ (M335i if you like) and the S4, which does make it a touch expensive.  If you want a fast Jaguar, you could get a new XFR for £51k and a nearly new one for even less.


didn't see your post when I put that link up! As you say here's a XFR:

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/class...d-listing/dealer-id/6157/usedcars


That £48k XFR has me doing man maths....... lovely spec too. Black with the black pack, standard wheels and black leather interior. Hubba, hubba...
Chocy Rocky

PG wrote:




Light up more of the road ahead with premium bi-function High Intensity discharge (HID) Xenon headlamps. Sport a striking on-road style with the signature J-Blade LED daytime running lights, LED Positional Lamps and LED Direction Indicator.




Said the Ford Escort owner after leaving Demon Tweaks with his trolly load of tat.

I'm not having a go at the Jaguar as it's a lovely looking car, but the Barry boys must have invaded and have started writing the product description.
Alf McQueef

PG wrote:
PhilD wrote:
Martin wrote:


At a similar price to an M3 it's too expensive, it's more like a 335i+ (M335i if you like) and the S4, which does make it a touch expensive.  If you want a fast Jaguar, you could get a new XFR for £51k and a nearly new one for even less.


didn't see your post when I put that link up! As you say here's a XFR:

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/class...d-listing/dealer-id/6157/usedcars


That £48k XFR has me doing man maths....... lovely spec too. Black with the black pack, standard wheels and black leather interior. Hubba, hubba...


Having kept an eye on various V8 petrol sports saloon prices for a while now, XFR's are decidedly the best value of the bunch. 2010 and sometimes 2011 cars with low mileages are often under £25k and there seem to be plenty around. The Evo buyer's guide was very complimentary, and they sound like they have the best ride/handling compromise of the lot. If the interiors were just a little less silvery/woody...

And yes FB I meant 4-pot. The brace of Evoques just up the road are among the few 4 pot diesels (the rest being French, they had to find something they were good at after thousands of years I suppose) that do seem impressively to have moved the game on, from the outside anyway.
Martin

Chocy Rocky wrote:
I'm not having a go at the Jaguar as it's a lovely looking car, but the Barry boys must have invaded and have started writing the product description.


It's not good!

At least they've moved onto solid, thin strips of LED for the DRL's, so much better than the row of fairy lights.

XFRs are excellent value, especially the earlier cars.  If looking nearly new, I'd spend the extra on an M5, £45k should get you one just over 12 months old.
Chocy Rocky

Martin wrote:
Chocy Rocky wrote:
I'm not having a go at the Jaguar as it's a lovely looking car, but the Barry boys must have invaded and have started writing the product description.


It's not good!

At least they've moved onto solid, thin strips of LED for the DRL's, so much better than the row of fairy lights.


I have this theory. LED DRLs are normally ok if they are part of the headlight unit, it all goes wrong when they are fitted elsewhere.

Stand up Honda Civic.
Martin

Chocy Rocky wrote:
I have this theory. LED DRLs are normally ok if they are part of the headlight unit, it all goes wrong when they are fitted elsewhere.

Stand up Honda Civic.


Yes, anything else looks aftermarket.
Martin

I may be bias (slightly!), but the DRLs on LED equipped 5 series look the best, quite an improvement over the standard xenons too.


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