Audi A1 Citycarver

from £22,870

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Audi A1 Citycarver

The latest addition to the A1 range, its new urban Audi A1 citycarver.

Everyone’s jumping on the popularity of the SUV boom, with even superminis being given chunky makeovers. The Audi A1 is one such car, because even though the standard model has diminutive proportions, this version has been given some chunky body styling and a raised ride height to make it more suitable for city life.


Although the new Audi A1 Citycarver is based on the A1 Sportback it is much more muscular in looks and its shape is reminiscent of the Audi Q models​.

The Audi A1 Citycarver's muscular looks are thanks to the following features:

  • Wheel arch enhancements
  • Redesigned sills in a contrasting colour
  • Underbody protection in a stainless steel finish
  • Raised suspension - around four centimetres of additional ground clearance for easier entry and better visibility
  • Large, octagonal Singleframe, reminiscent of the Audi Q models, surrounding a strongly sculpted honeycomb insert painted in matt black
  • Two characteristic slots above the grille differentiate it from the A1 Sportback
  • A new look rear bumper echoing the robust look of the front end

Interior ​

One of Audi’s key selling points is the quality of its interiors, and that’s true even of its smallest model. The A1 City Carver cabin is packed full of quality materials, and it’s far more spacious than you’d expect given the proportions of the vehicle.

It has an 8.8-inch infotainment system as standard and Audi’s excellent virtual cockpit, which replaces the conventional dials with digital ones. The result is a highly elevated feel of quality, while the raised ride height gives a bit more visibility of the road ahead, making it practical and appealing.

Exterior

The latest generation Audi A1 has a much fussier design than before, but that’s no bad thing because while there are a lot of design features they combine to create a car that looks aggressive and sporty.

In City Carver trim, you get the usual upgrades when making a vehicle more ‘lifestyle’ – for example, chunky wheel arch cladding and bumper inserts. The result is a far more rugged-looking car, but one that doesn’t lose the premium appeal of the standard version. Opt for darker paint jobs and the cladding is more subtle, too.

Technology

Given its premium position in the market, the A1 has a good amount of technology on board. The aforementioned digital instrument screen is a great addition to the list of standard equipment and pretty unique in this segment, while the 8.8-inch infotainment screen can be upgraded to a 10.1-inch unit.

The upgraded Technology Pack adds the full Virtual Cockpit system, which has increased views and functions, while adding sat nav, Audi Connect and wireless smartphone charging. A Comfort and Sound package adds parking assists, front seat heating and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Performance

There are two engines options available, badged 30 TFSI and 35 TFSI, and both are available with a six-speed manual or an S tronic automatic transmission.

The 30 TFSI uses a 1.0-litre petrol engine that makes 114bhp and 200Nm of torque, with a 0-60mph time of 9.5 seconds and a top speed of 123mph. It achieves up to 46.3mpg and emits up to 140g/km of CO2.

The 35 TFSI is a 1.5-litre unit and makes 148bhp and 250Nm of torque. Its top speed is 136mph and the 0-60mph time is 8.3 seconds. Fuel consumption is up to 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions are up to 147g/km.


Trim levels

The City Carver is technically a trim level of the Audi A1, so there’s only one specification available. However, it comes well equipped, with 17-inch alloy wheels, increased ride height over standard models, LED headlights and rear lights, City Carver body kit, front sport seats, 8.8-inch infotainment system and digital instrument screen as standard.

Comfort and Sound Pack available
30 TFSI and 35 TFSI petrol engines
17-inch alloy wheels

First drive: The A1 Citycarver adds rugged styling to an already well-rounded supermini

Ted Welford heads to Hamburg, Germany, to see whether the A1 Citycarver is a worthy addition to the Audi range

What is it?

You’d think that with seven crossovers and SUVs already in Audi’s range, buyers would have plenty of choice when it comes to picking their next rugged-looking model. 

Not only are there these ‘Q’ SUVs, but there are also ‘Allroad’ models, which add genuine off-road ability and sturdy looks to the brand’s estate models. Yet even that doesn’t fill every niche, as now there is a further faux-rugged car – the A1 Citycarver. 

Adding off-road styling to what is arguably the most premium supermini around, can this new model extend the A1’s appeal further?

What’s new?

The key differences on this new Citycarver mostly relate to its styling – the thing that will undoubtedly appeal most to potential buyers. Through a revised suspension setup and larger tyres, the Citycarver sits 50mm higher up than the regular A1, offering a raised driving position but lacking any additional off-road settings or ability.

Then there are the typical cues that underpin these rugged-looking models – Audi describes it as ‘urban-ready’ – such as the silver underbody protection, two-tone wheel arch extensions and revised bumpers, the latter making the Citycarver ever so slightly longer than the regular car

Unlike the standard A1, the Citycarver is only offered with one high-spec trim level, which incorporates bits and pieces of both the ‘Sport’ and ‘S line’ trim levels of the standard car. 

Side view of the Audi A1 City Carver outside a building

What’s under the bonnet?

A slimmed-down engine line-up is found with the Citycarver, with buyers able to choose from two petrol engines. 

Our test car – badged as the 30 TFSI – uses a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 114bhp and 200Nm of torque. It’s available with a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission, with the latter being fitted to our model.

Despite being a small engine, it feels more than powerful enough in something the size of the A1, going from 0-60mph in 9.7 seconds and hitting a claimed top speed of 123mph. It’s also reasonably efficient, returning up to a claimed 44.1mpg and emitting 117g/km of CO2. 

The engine delivers peppy performance, but it can feel a bit gruff at lower speeds, while the automatic gearbox can feel dim-witted at times – though these are small grievances. 

A 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine (35 TFSI) is also offered, and also comes with the option of a manual or automatic gearbox. 

What’s it like to drive?

With Audi clearly marketing the A1 Citycarver as a model for the urban market, this is where this A1 makes the most sense. 

Its dinky size makes it both easy to drive and manoeuvre, while visibility is excellent, too. The light steering aids with this ease of driving when diving in and out of congestion and also when parking. Road noise is also kept to a minimum, while the ride on our car’s 17-inch alloy wheels was comfortable and it handled imperfections in the road well. 

Our test route was all in the city, giving us little chance to push the Citycarver and experience it at higher speeds, but expect it to perform similarly to the regular A1 – this meaning it will offer levels of refinement from the class above. 

What’s it like to drive?

With Audi clearly marketing the A1 Citycarver as a model for the urban market, this is where this A1 makes the most sense. 

Its dinky size makes it both easy to drive and manoeuvre, while visibility is excellent, too. The light steering aids with this ease of driving when diving in and out of congestion and also when parking. Road noise is also kept to a minimum, while the ride on our car’s 17-inch alloy wheels was comfortable and it handled imperfections in the road well. 

Our test route was all in the city, giving us little chance to push the Citycarver and experience it at higher speeds, but expect it to perform similarly to the regular A1 – this meaning it will offer levels of refinement from the class above. 

 Audi A1 City Carver driving over a bridge

What’s it like inside?

Open the A1’s door and what you immediately notice is just how upmarket the Citycarver’s interior feels – judging on looks alone you could easily think this is a cabin taken from far more expensive models in the Audi range.

Highlights are the fantastic 10.25-inch digital cockpit (upgradeable to Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit) and the standard 8.8-inch touchscreen – each setting the benchmark for connectivity and technology in the supermini class. All the switchgear is easy to use, and the overall design looks clean and modern. Additional colour can be added to the interior by delving into the options list, too.

However, as with the regular A1, the quality can’t quite live up to the image, with a few cheap and hard plastics featuring in the cabin – notably on the door cards. While you could get away with this in a £15,000 supermini, such quality doesn’t quite cut it in a car costing nearly £25,000. 

On the plus side, the A1’s cabin is surprisingly practical, offering 335 litres of boot space, while even six foot-plus adults will find the rear seats relatively comfortable. 

interior of the Audi A1 City Carver

What’s the spec like?

Standard equipment on the single trim level is superb – including the aforementioned digital cockpit and touchscreen, as well as LED lights throughout the exterior and interior. 

Audi Drive Select, which allows you to customise driving modes, is also fitted, as are rear parking sensors, cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

But the downside is that all this comes at a price, with A1 Citycarvers costing from £22,040, and by selecting an automatic gearbox you add a further £1,500. Regardless of how you look at it, that’s a lot of money for a supermini – more so when you consider that the Citycarver costs more than the regular A1 in S line trim, yet offers less kit than that model. 

On the plus side, promised class-leading residual values should make the CItycarver good value to finance. 

Verdict

With buyers falling head over heels for off-road looks on vehicles of all shapes and sizes, the A1 Citycarver is undoubtedly a great addition to the Audi line-up, and will likely appeal as the most affordable ‘crossover’ style model in the German brand’s range.

It also excels at what the regular A1 does best – offering premium appeal in the typically cheap and cheerful supermini sector.

However, with the Citycarver commanding quite the fee over the regular A1 for little more than some revised styling, we can’t help but feel that the regular car is the better option, so it’s not surprising to learn the low percentage of sales it’s expected to account for. However, if it’s the Citycarver’s looks and rugged image that appeal, buyers are unlikely to be disappointed.

PCP Terms and Conditions: *At the end of the agreement there are three options: i) pay the optional final payment and own the vehicle; ii) return the vehicle: subject to excess mileage and fair wear and tear, charges may apply; or iii) replace: part exchange the vehicle.

With Solutions Personal Contract Plan. ^Can consist of a contribution towards the cash price and a contribution towards the deposit (Please see Audi Centre for details). 18s+. Subject to availability and status. T&Cs apply. Offer available when ordered by 30/09/2020 and delivered by 31/12/2020 from participating Centres. 36 to 49 month agreements only. Agreements with a term less than 46 months may receive a contribution less than the equivalent of 3 monthly payments however you will not be required to make a monthly payment for the first 3 months. Excludes RS, R8, e-tron and PHEV models. Indemnities may be required. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Accurate at time of publication [July 2020]. Freepost Audi Financial Services.