It’s wet, the country road we’ve chosen is winding and tight and the front slides wide as the traction control light flashes endlessly on the dash. This is a different kind of drive, a different kind of fun, but German tuner MTM’s interpretation of the new Audi A1 can still put a smile on anyone’s face.
Audi’s addition to the supermini ranks was odd to start with. Underneath the marketing guff that claims this is ‘concentrated Vorsprung durch technik’, it’s actually a Volkswagen Polo with a designer jacket and underpants. It’s a relatively standard small car, with a veneer of big car luxury and a stratospheric price tag. In today’s consumer society, this style over substance exercise was always going to work.
A small car is no longer a clear statement that you can’t afford a big one, it’s a lifestyle choice and manufacturers have moved to embrace it. Audi isn’t the only one to play this game, of course. The new Mini has got steadily more expensive, then there is the Alfa Romeo MiTo and, at the ridiculous end of the scale, the Toyota-based Aston Martin Cygnet. And as anything with an Audi badge seems to fly off the shelves right now, perhaps it’s no surprise that the svelte A1 has become a success. Audi rarely misses a trick and its A1, which will head up a family of lesser cars from VW, Skoda and SEAT, is the four-ringed star’s assault on the sector.
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