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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Only drove our new SE TDi for a few miles today (it is my wife's car after all) but here are a few first impressions. These comments relate to the diesel, can't comment on the petrol models.

Very long gearing - one of the first things that struck me is how astonishingly long the gearing is. At 50 mph in 5th it is turning over at under 1500rpm, that's barely over idle speed. Blunts acceleration in 5th, but no doubt great for economy.

Two stage throttle - you may not notice it at first, but the throtte is very deliberately set up with a two stage spring action. The first 60% of the travel is lightly sprung, but the last 40% has a much stiffer spring action. The intention is clear, this is to discourage you from using all the throttle in normal driving as an aid to economy. Add this to the long gearing, and if you tickle the throttle in 5th at low revs, very little happens. To get some urge, you need to drop a gear and push into the upper section of throttle travel, then the wee beastie takes off.

Cruising - We did some dual cariageway today, and the car (even though split new) is an effortless cruiser. Granted it is slow to collect speed in 5th, but it builds imperceptibly until you are cruising in silence at (ahem) well over the national limit. This was on a very tight engine with zero miles, assume it will get a lot better with some running in. Very impressive, but makes me wish we'd specced the cruise control after all.

Refinement - The magazines have mentioned this and it's true, astonishly refined at speed for such a small car.

Ride - (on SE) firm and contolled, but comfortable.

Steering - Quite simply delicious

Seats - Firm but nicely shaped and comfortable

Drivers Info System - Rather too complex, will need to study this

Conclusion - Very definitely all the feel of a bigger Audi in a small package, I'm impressed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update ... now 3 days and 350 miles old!

Took the wee varmint for a blat this evening, and was amazed at how much it has freed off and improved already. In particular the low rev pick up has improved, like moving on to a roundabout in 3rd gear at modest speed, it pulls away with more confidence now. It also has quite formidable overtaking ability if you catch it just on the torque band in 3rd or 4th, very satisfying. This is shaping up to be quite a rapid little car, even without chipping.

I also took it to a deserted roundabout in an industrial estate that I have been using for years as a test circuit. Bear in mind it was cold, dark, weet and slippy this evening. I pitched it in, and waited for the usual sequences of turn-in/ understeer/lift-off/ then catch the throttle into oversteer. Every car I have ever driven into this roundabout does some version of this particular dance, even my Porsche. But not the A1! It just carved a circular line round the roundabout with no fuss at all. I went back and did it again, only a tad faster, and blow me it did exactly the same. This is one of the most sorted, stable chassis I can recall thro this test. In deference to the car's newness I was not being brutal, but it is still a very creditable performance.

On the downside I find the throttle mapping annoying timid and non-linear, and heaven help anyone with feet bigger or broader than my modest size 9's, cos the space to the left of the clutch pedal is just too damn small.

All told though, this is shaping up to be a very entertaining wee car! :cool:
 

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Thanks for the update! Sounds like a good test, it is good to know it behaves nicely :mrgreen:

I must say I wasn't expecting that much stability, specially as yours doesn't have the sport suspension, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
kravi said:
I must say I wasn't expecting that much stability, specially as yours doesn't have the sport suspension, right?
Correct, standard SE spec suspenion, more than firm enough for UK roads I'd say.
 
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