Normally, if you want a compact car for urban cities, you buy a MINI. Not only are they, well, mini, but they’re fun to drive, premium on the inside, economical and affordable. There are other tiny urban city cars, of course, but a MINI Cooper is probably your best bet. However, Audi has a new car that might just give it a run for its money. The new Audi A1.
We obviously haven’t driven the new Audi A1, as no one has just yet, but the A1 does look like a formidable competitor both on paper and in pictures. In fact, it looks like it could become the most popular and most interesting car in its price point/segment. So let’s take a look at how the two stack up.
From the outside, the two cars have drastically different styling but one thing they do have in common is the fact that they’re both very modern and youthful. Both of these cars will appeal to younger customers, which is exactly the point.
At the front, the Audi A1 is a bit more visually exciting, with more grilles and angular headlights, but it’s still a bit typical of Audi. The MINI, while very typical of MINI, is still the more unique looking car of the two. As for which one is better looking, that’s probably the MINI. The A1’s three odd little vents above its grille look a bit too strange. The MINI looks classic and smart.
Out back, I think the MINI wins again. It’s not that the A1 is bad looking, and it does have some cool styling cues, the MINI is just more well sorted. The A1 seems a bit too fussy, with too many angles and the taillights are a bit too…much. Though, it is interesting and sporty looking, so it adds a bit of visual character.
Where the Audi A1 claws back is in profile. When looking at each of these cars from the side, the Audi A1 is actually a good looking car. Its stance is more aggressive, its fat C-pillar harkens back to the original, fire-breathing Audi Quattro and its black, seemingly floating roof, is very hip. So its profile is more exciting than the four-door MINI, which is a bit frumpy looking.
Inside, both cars are very funky. Both are really stylish, modern and fun. Though, I think I have to give the nod to the A1 inside, as its touchscreen MMI system is better looking than MINI’s iDrive-based system, and is angled toward the driver, and just overall looks more high-tech. Sure, touchscreens can be a bit annoying but Audi’s is probably the best we’ve used. It also gets Audi’s latest Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel, which is shared with the flagship A8, and it looks far slicker than MINI’s setup.
It’s tough to choose which car is better looking and more exciting but I think I actually have to lean toward the Audi A1. Personally, I love MINIs and would absolutely put my money down for one. However, small, efficient economy cars can be so bland and boring. The Audi A1 really spices it up, looking far sportier and more aggressive than you’d expect from a car in this segment. It also packs an extremely high-tech and stylish interior. So while I do love MINI, I think I’d have to choose the Audi A1, based solely on exterior and interior design.