back to article German iron meets Monaco's highlands: Audi A1 review

It’s all about the steering. The face-lifted Audi A1 has eschewed the trend to drive-by-wire and has mechanical steering with variable electrical assistance. I drove the new 1.0 three-cylinder petrol engine version, and over the miles what started as a nice little practical town car turned into a fun little toy. Reviewing cars …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sums?

    Well care to tell us how much it costs or is that still under NDA?

    You can have a well balanced Triple Engine without balance shafts. Just make the crank a 120deg one.

    Finally, how much leg room up front is there for those us with very long legs? (33in inside leg or bigger)

    Most cars of this size are only ok for 1-2 hours driving before your legs start going to sleep.

    1. teabag36

      Re: Sums?

      Yes, do we know if the engine has a 120 deg crank - as the coward says, this makes for a nice smooth engine (reminds me of the Wartburg - 1000cc triple with 120 crank. The fact it was a 2 stroke made it even smoother

      1. Heathroi

        Re: Sums?

        you mean the Stazi car known as Farty Hans?

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Sums?

      You can have a well balanced Triple Engine without balance shafts. Just make the crank a 120deg one.

      Balance shafts aren't typically for primary vibration, which the 120 degrees gets you, but for secondary vibration. Secondary vibration is caused by the motion of the pistons and the angle of the connecting rod which means the top half of the stroke is completed faster than the lower half. Here's why: as the crank rotates from top dead center (TDC), with the connecting rod inline with the crank throw, toward 90 degrees the connecting rod makes an angle with the bore axis so when it reaches 90 degrees the connecting rod is effectively shorter and the piston is actually beyond half of its stroke. Let's work some numbers to illustrate: we have a stroke of 75.4 mm so the crank throw is half that, 37.7 mm, and if we assume the rod to be about 150 mm in length this means the piston wrist pin is 150 + 37.7 = 187.7 mm above the crank at TDC and 150 - 37.7 = 112.3 mm. Now at 90 degrees the connecting rod is at an angle of atan(37.7/150) = 14.1 degrees so the piston wrist pin is now at a height of 150*cos(14.1) = 145.5 mm which is 4.5 mm below the middle of the stroke. This means the piston travels further between crank angles 270 - 0 - 90 than it does when the crank turns from 90 - 180 - 270.

    3. Don Dumb

      Re: Sums?

      @AC - "Finally, how much leg room up front is there for those us with very long legs? (33in inside leg or bigger)

      Most cars of this size are only ok for 1-2 hours driving before your legs start going to sleep."

      It doesn't really look any different to the previous A1 and I've just done a 4 hour drive in one of those - The leg room in the front seats is fine, I'm ~6ft and there's a lot more room to give in the driver's seat. It is the back seats that lose all the room and they don't have a lot of space, either for your legs or to sit up straight in.

      In my experience of motorway driving in various small to mid-sized hirecars is that what makes a bigger difference to preventing feet from going to sleep is the presence of a left-footrest and adaptive cruise control, my A1 has both and long journeys are very comfortable for a car its size (which is partly why I went for one)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sums?

      Given it is a 4 seater, I suspect leg room isn't amazing.

  2. GreggS

    So how much MPG do you get?

    "Funnily enough, you don’t get anything like that on the bits of road that are used for the Monte Carlo rally" - so what can the Average Joe on the commute expect?

    1. joed

      Re: So how much MPG do you get?

      Not sure that I can properly answer the question but the "poor US cousin" of Golf 1.8TSI gets (so far) ridiculous real life MPGs of 39.9 (regular unleaded, calculated between fill-up). This is mixed driving (biased towards highway), low temps, paying attention to MPGs but also judiciously enjoying the kick you get in 2nd and 3rd (and 4th;). With the proper transmission (well, I'd not mind the 6speed from GTI) it's quite fun to drive (though steering could be heavier and clutch have better feel). A1 should do better - it's probably lighter, smaller displacement, better stick and fancy pants engine (I bet it's dual injected and possibly dual variable valve timing). We (US) get the "cheap" option that's good enough, and Golf was the only 2 door hatch besides really base Yaris or something really impractical or expensive.

      Time will tell what the reliability is like.

      1. xj25vm

        Re: So how much MPG do you get?

        @joed - I assume that's American mpg units? Would that be around 48 imperial mpg?

        1. joed

          Re: So how much MPG do you get?

          I'm more familiar with the metric system (and I actually wanted to know how our Golf stacks up against European cars) so (with Google's help) my "score" translates to ~5.9l/100km - fairly decent.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: So how much MPG do you get?

        Can't see it making it over here.

        Now that gas is under $1/L people are queuing up to buy new bigger cars.

        Ford F150s are now selling above list price, with a waiting list.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    Beeuugghhh

    Just like the BMW Series 1, these small Audis just don't have that 'chic' 'panache' that is associated with their larger siblings.. I would agree that they both possess some of their associated families technological advantages but they severly lack the prestige...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Beeuugghhh

      If you don't drive a BMW how do you measure yourself against other golfers ?

      By height....

  4. CJatCTi

    I have had the old one for 2+ years

    It's a fun car, mine is 1 up from the base diesel, (no fog lights on that), I have a heavy right foot and it tells me I have averaged 53.5 mpg & 36mph. It's happy doing 90 on the M5, so happy that, she who must be obeyed didn't notice the speed & wondered why I was suddenly pulling over to the hard shoulder & getting out of the car.

    I am 6' 2" ad on the sports could sit in the back with the drivers seat in my driving position (1 knotch left) but on mine the rear leg room isn't there. The 2 year old in her car seat has to take the middle seat with her feet between the two front seats.

    It's a good car, with no road tax and a low fuel bill, but I think you need the A3 or the sports version to be comfortable in the back

  5. peterkin

    Something's missing

    So what does the car actually look like? The whole car, I mean.

    1. peterkin

      Re: Something's missing

      Before you jump on me, there's no photo of the whole car on the mobile version of the website, even tho' there is one on the full-fat edition.

  6. gurugeorge

    Unacceptable to not state the price it's like I've wasted five minutes of my life. ... Good review, but what kind of gallons? Would've been nice to have some more of the tech angle/Bluetooth, inbuilt USB connectors? Et cetera.

  7. Zog The Undeniable
    Thumb Down

    It's a useless car for a family of any size

    Booked a test drive of the 5 door. Never got it out of the showroom in the end. My 11-year old would never have been able to sit in the back with the seat adjusted for me (and I'm under six feet); the legroom and headroom are non-existent. Buy a Fiesta or something; the A1 is just a fashion accessory for couples.

    Also, unless they've added balancer shafts to the VW 3-cylinder engine, it's as rough as a buzzard's crutch. I've tried it in a Skoda Citigo and, while that is an otherwise excellent little car (much better packaged than the A1), the engine stopped me from buying one. It felt as if it would shake itself apart within a few thousand miles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a useless car for a family of any size

      Should be called an Audi Mini. It's Audi's version of a BMW Mini.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Audi take you on a nice little jolly over to Monaco in exchange for a decent review of their new ever-so-slightly-changed Skoda Fabia clone?

    These small 'premium' hatchbacks are about as interesting as a review for a new Dell base model workstation.

  9. Ilmarinen
    FAIL

    "its crankcase is made of cast aluminium"

    err - I think you'll find that has been pretty much common for quite a few decades now.

    Anything else new to report?

  10. Adam 67
    FAIL

    Steer by wire?

    'It’s all about the steering. The face-lifted Audi A1 has eschewed the trend to drive-by-wire and has mechanical steering with variable electrical assistance. I drove the new 1.0 three-cylinder petrol engine version, and over the miles what started as a nice little practical town car turned into a fun little toy.'

    Apart from top spec Infiniti's no-one has produced a mass-market steer by wire system for a production car (and they are currently rumoured to be returning to non-SBW). So it's hardly 'eschewed the trend'. The electrical power assistance the article refers to has been common for the last decade or so.

    As additionally mentioned above, the MI16 engine from 1987 I had in my 205 gti had an aluminium cylinder block (albeit with cast liners). And BMW's nikasil engines in the e36 were all alloy, although not all totally successful.... I don't know why this banal fact warranted a mention.

    'Reviewing cars is the best job there is at The Register' Maybe I can do a better job? You've got my email!

  11. Yugguy

    It doesn't matter what engine is in an Audi

    They all still think they're the fastest car on the road.

  12. Tanuki
    WTF?

    I wonder how easy it would be to hack all the torque-vectoring/stability-control-program stuff so you could instead dial in some of that wonderful lift-off-oversteer effect that made the Peugeot 205 about the only decent handling FWD car of the last century?

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Ouch!

      Now you've upset my old delta hf turbo!!!!

  13. sabroni Silver badge
    WTF?

    You can drive an Audi on a road with no-one else around?

    Someone needs to tell all the audi drivers, you don't have to slipstream the car in front to get anywhere....

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