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Stunning little Audi A1 gets a facelift and two new ultra-efficient petrol engines

Meet the little city car that thinks it's an executive saloon.

It's testament to the Vorsprung Durch Technik ethos that the runt of the litter is as well put-together as an A4 or indeed the A8 super-limo.

Ever since it burst on to the scene in 2011, the A1 has brought style and sophistication to the city-car sector.

So much so that it took the fight to BMW and firmly squared up to the Mini which, until then, was considered unstoppable.

Four years on and with more than 500,000 sales under its belt, the little dynamo has been refreshed.

Design-wise, the changes are very subtle, and only a very keen eye will spot them.

There's a choice of new lighting options (Xenons/LEDs), rear diffuser and front single-frame grill which accompany vibrant new colours - Utopia Blue and Nano Grey.

But Audi has decided to concentrate its efforts on the inside - namely equipment and refined engines.

Standard kit now includes a driver information system, multi-function steering wheel, Audi Concert Radio with music streaming and Bluetooth - worth a total of €1,715.

Under the bonnet, two new three-cylinder 'ultra' engines join the line-up.

The 1.0TFSI 95bhp and the 1.4TDI 90bhp are both uber fuel-efficient with a low CO2 output of 89g, meaning annual road tax of €180.

Those who demand creature comforts can opt for the sublime S-tronic auto matic gearbox for a premium of €2,300.

In addition to the entry model, the new Audi A1 is also available in a further two trims - SE and S line.

The SE gets 16-inch alloys, LED rear lights, sports seats, rear-parking sensors, contrast colour rear spoiler and wing mirrors and a front centre armrest for an extra €1,600.

Pony up €3,000 above the entry model into the top end S line and you'll be treated to 17-inch alloys, Xenon headlights, sports suspension, front fog lights, Audi drive select, S line exterior styling, sports seats, chrome exhausts and piano black air vent inlays.

Best value, though, is the five-door Sportback version which at €600 extra is the best money you'll ever spend.

Drive-wise, the A1 lives up to the four rings on the grille with as premium a drive as one could get in a car this size. We tested the 1.0- litre petrol with 95bhp which left us more than impressed.

There was plenty of grunt from the little three-pot, and even on motorways it was never left wanting.

It's more at home, though, darting around city streets, and it proved great fun nipping in and out of rush-hour traffic.

It was a doddle to park and very reluctant to visit the pumps, returning a spectacular 64.2mpg (4.4litres/100km).

It was remarkably quiet for such a tiny motor (superb insulation), Audi again pulling out all the stops to surround you with a first-class cabin

Prices for the Audi A1 start at €21,450.