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The city car grows up: Audi A1 Sportback

By on 25 November 2011 in Cars

The city car grows up: Audi A1 Sportback
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We’re urbanites at heart here on The Guide, not liking to stray too far from the nearest bar, restaurant or watch shop. Give us the crowded streets of one of the world’s great cities over the dull, empty space of the countryside any day.

The only problem is that we’re also rather rabid drivers. Now and again, we’ll take the to the track to get our kicks but that can have, er, unfortunate consequences.

Anyway, our point is that any car that promises to combine good looks, performance and high-end quality in a package small enough to cope with Mayfair’s lack of parking or Chelsea’s narrow back-streets is going to catch our eye. Audi’s upcoming A1 Sportback did just that.

We’ve always had a penchant for Audi’s alluring cocktail of performance, subtle styling and bullet-proof build-quality. The question is, can our friends from Ingolstadt deliver in such a tiny little package?

Audi calls the A1 Sportback “powerful and innovative, combining the power of a sports car with the style of urban living.” Well, lets see.

The new five-door is definitely compact and clearly aimed at young, urban drivers. Based on the three-door A1, the Sportback has been stretched to 3.95 meters – you’ll notice most of that additional space in the backseat. But one look at the impressive, innovative styling (such a relief to see an attractive small car that isn’t a damn Mini) – inside and out – tells you that practicality is not the first thing on Audi’s mind. Indeed, it ships the Sportback with 4 seats (a fifth seat is available for an extra charge) and instead focuses on providing its customers with the possibility of personalizing the car with a slew of colours, detailing features and so on.

No doubt, this car is all about asserting your style while enjoying home comforts. That’s obvious when you look at the list of gadgets you’ll find on board. The Sportback is offered with all sorts of toys that, until recently, you’d have to pay A8 money to get your hands on. Audi Connect (which connects the car to the internet), MMI Navigation plus  (a high-end multimedia center) and Bluetooth car-phone are all present and correct.

We’re really rather taken with this little car from Audi. It looks the part and will certainly ensure that you’re cosseted from the world as you cruise down Jermyn Street for the fourth time looking for that elusive parking space. With none of the derivative looks of the current Mini or the Golf-in-drag pretence of VW’s Beetle, it looks to us as if the city car has finally grown up.

The Audi A1 Sportback starts at around £14,500.

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The city car grows up: Audi A1 Sportback

We’re really rather taken with this little car from Audi. It looks the part and will certainly ensure that you’re cosseted from the world as you cruise down Jermyn Street for the fourth time looking for that elusive parking space. With none of the derivative looks of the current Mini or the Golf-in-drag pretence of VW’s Beetle, it looks to us as if the city car has finally grown up.

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Our editor-in-chief, the self-proclaimed "greatest wit, raconteur and bon vivant of our age", borders on delusional. Over the years, the fool has squandered more money on fast cars, Swiss watches and electronic gadgetry of all kinds than he – or Mrs Fool – cares to remember. Come nightfall, he can invariably be found stumbling out of Dukes mumbling “just one more Martini; I could have handled just one mmmmm… [thud!]”

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