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Audi A1 1.4 TFSI, Ford Fiesta Sport, Mini Cooper and Opel Adam S in the test

Rossen Gargolov
Audi A1 1.4 TFSI, Ford Fiesta Sport, Mini Cooper and Opel Adam S
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J everyone has to start somewhere. Okay, some get in right upstairs. Boxster for the eighteenth, little bows around it - all the best from Daddy. As a rule, however, you first have to work your way up the career ladder to become a sports driver or overcome certain hurdles that you get in the way - the author writes from experience.

From bitter: A 205 GTI would have it back then should be, the one-ninth, logical. The idea was great, her presentation at home - well - probably not. 'Go-Teh-III? Not as long as you put your legs under our ...' You probably know the lines. Well, in any case, firstly it turned out differently and secondly, much worse than expected: Mercedes ML, a 230, shared by nuts. Basta! Hunter green, heavy as lead, 150 PS, no turbo, no torque. After all: You learn to drive cleanly, you have to constantly go deep into the limit area, otherwise your buddies will rattle off in their four-hand 5s. -beta '> Small, relatively light and supercharged

Why do I whine you with my wasted youth? Because it would certainly have gone differently if there had been some like this. Because they are something like the ideal Formula Junior, the golden mean between boring off-the-shelf goods and the designated sports models: small, relatively light, nonetheless turbo-charged, but - and as I said, elementary for fleet negotiations within the family - without revealing abbreviations on the rear /p>

Admittedly, you don't scare away the chickens in front of the Dorfdisse, but you don't stand there completely unattractively either. All four gock with wings and big wheels, can be painted in squeaky colors or tattooed rally stripes, stream music and start some of the more famous ones. Also very important: at least at the base, the aisles are still picked by hand. It may well be that the automatic is slowly shedding its pensioner image, but as a rookie you should show that you have mastered the number with the grinding point. And seriously: What is more efficient than starting up the mountain?

Ford Fiesta Sport with only 997 cubic displacement

Now let's just go for a run. And for the sake of suspense, we start at the bottom, in the Fiesta, the most externallyBambule does. If you look at him like that, you might think that he wants to compensate for something. If you know him, you know that it is exactly like that. Bicolor dress, Aston Martin look-alike snout and behind it a little engine that seriously raises the question of whether it tumbles off the front axle when the throttle is too strong.

EcoBoost is then called, with Emphasis on boost: 140 hp, 180 Nm at a worrying 997 cubic meters. Extreme downsizing. The side effect: The turbo takes a while to blow its cheeks, so that the Fiesta crawls off cautiously before it starts to really stomp. Lively, persistent, but not quite as profitable as the competition. What it lacks are muscles, a foundation for the space empty of boost pressure - ultimately the displacement, which may be compensated for in phases, but cannot be replaced.

Strong chassis, weak engine

So the Ford has to tear it out in curves. Inevitably, but with preference. Butter for the fish: chassis, set-up, that's what Ford can do. Always, over and over again and again. Even a perfectly normal Fiesta curves really cheekily, the ST anyway, and the sport is now in between: not overly fickle when changing loads, but direct, precise, full, dry and neutral. Nobody dives so daringly into the north curve, nobody scurries so nimily through the crossbar exit, and nobody bites into the Sachskurve that much. The trouble is that there are straights in Hockenheim. And he panted afterwards on them: lean engine, longer gear ratio, one gear less than the others - blunt weapon.

But there is a second problem, a more serious, existential one: the price. It costs a good 20,000 euros. Adequate, everything's fine actually. But: the ST version is already available for a few hundred more. And it tops the sport quite clearly: nominally, straight ahead, in performance and - the most important thing - in driving pleasure.

Mini Cooper has grown up - and sluggish

Driving pleasure is actually the core of the Mini. He co-founded him 66 years ago, then reborn, and now, in his third reincarnation, he is slowly putting him to sleep. He pursues higher goals: economic ones, and therefore suddenly no longer obeys Gaudimaxism alone, but primarily the modular strategy.

So far not unusual, only he got a little out of the glue: Instead of his Limiting the body with the axles, as before, is now hanging over the front for the first time in his history - and the consequences are not only aesthetic in nature. Let's first look at the previous driving experience. And no one illustrates this better than brand mascot Rauno Aaltonen, who is a multiple Monte winnerin the mini. To do this, he takes a broom between his legs, first with the handle forward, and pulls it as fast as he can from left to right: 'So,' he says, 'feels like a mini.' Then he turns the broom over and waves the brush side around: 'And that's how all other cars feel.' Dime fallen? Clean!

In the new Mini, one of these broomsticks now looks a whole lot clunkier. In plain language: The steering behavior is no longer as immediate as it was before. The joke about it: It's not the sport versions that convey the typical mini feeling most authentically, but the perfectly normal Cooper. Yes, that one here. And not in spite of, but precisely because of its three-cylinder.

Mini Cooper with an amazingly powerful three-cylinder

The supercharged one 1.5-liter works amazingly well, climbs eagerly out of the cellar and doesn't even sound wrong with its high revving rumble. Above all, however, it lies much more loosely in the hand in curves than its colleagues Zwoliter in the Cooper S and JCW. He may not be quite the old man, the very old one anyway and not the next older either - the nose is too bulbous for that and the distance between the driver and the windscreen is now simply too big. However, hey presto, you are still more delightful with it on country roads than in most other small cars at the moment.

In general, it ultimately removes the basis from the earlier-everything-was-better-nagging: Because like Cooper S and JCW the Cooper has not only become more grown up, more spacious and more comfortable, but also more dynamic. He doesn't drive the Hockenheimring in a turbulent manner, if only because the straights tend to unwind in slow motion for him, but he brushes the corners quite nicely over the top. Accurate, with no big bugs at the rear and, thanks to the grippy Pirellis, really fix.

Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI at a disadvantage because of the tires

At Audi, in view of this, you should bite your buttocks. Not that the few tenths behind the bustling Mini are so extremely devastating, but because they didn't necessarily have to be. In plain language: The Cooper is as fast as it could be because of the tires, and the A1 for the same reason not as fast. How would you say in Bavaria: Zefix!

Contis of the PremiumContact type are belted onto him. Nice and supple in rolling comfort, but rather sneakers compared to the sports shoes of the Cooper. This can be seen in the braking distances as well as in jagged turns, where the front axle always threatens to smear. There are two reasons why the gap on the track remains within limits. First: the forced active ESP, which noodles the A1 squeaky clean along the liability limit. And second: the engine - thestrongest here in the field. Fourteen hundred cubic meters, four cylinders, two of which it shuts down in partial load operation.

More power in the Audi A1 1.4 TFSI since the facelift

150 HP was increased in the course of the facelift, but this also serves more cosmetics as the new daytime running lights, which he no longer wears as an eyeliner but as an eyebrow. In any case, its 250 Newton meters are much more decisive. They are wide-spread and force the A1 elastically through every aisle. The disadvantage that, for reasons of availability, he was the only one to have to compete here with the heavier four-door body, is in any case not a real one. And the TFSI then fights back the few kilometers an hour that the ESP nibbles off of it at the exit of the curve.

Nevertheless: Within this crawling group, the Audi seems very reserved - not only on the country road, where it drives rather than wants to be driven, but also in the way it presents itself. In the Mini, you are already looking forward to the curvy while sitting inside: funny infotainment graphics, sugar-sweet details and wonderfully pointless frills such as the light organ around the center display, which kaleidoscopes around in circles according to the engine speed, blushes in the vicinity of the limiter or flashes green when the start-stop switches off the engine . To be honest: After that, in the A1 you will feel like you are in one of these doctor's practices for private patients. Black leather furniture, clinical ambience light - extremely chic, no question about it, but a tad too cool even for a lifestyler like him.

Opel Adam S has a more racing flair than it ultimately drives

The Opel Adam S however finds exactly the right mix: he drives it not as colorful as the Cooper, it is more homely than the lumber room in the Ford, but in contrast to the Audi, it comes out of itself. Visually, however, more than driving emotional. In other words: the playful spoiler, the target-flagged headliner, the top-notch Recaros - everything has a much more racing flair than it does in the end. Because first and foremost, the Adam S remains an Opel like most of the others: It feels like this, and it sounds like this: a bit hollow and with that hooting upwards. But: It works on the principle of 'small car, big engine', and it masters that - also typically Opel - extremely well.

With its 150 hp 1.4, the Opel Adam S together with the Audi of Croesus here, but from a physical point of view he falls out of the ordinary. It is not easy to categorize it: It is a bit smaller than A1, Fiesta and Co., so perDefinitely no longer a small car. On the other hand, the Cinquecento clothing is already too tight for him, so that we are all very happy how well his performance then fits the others. In other words: Despite its diffuse proportions, it does not tear up or down. Not quite as easy as the Fiesta, not quite as strong as Cooper and A1, not quite as dancing as one might have expected given its brevity - but boss in the ring.

Fastest lap time but weak brakes in the Adam S

Remarkable: He is not one of those idiots who shine somewhere and then somehow bumble through the rest of the lap, but simply constantly fast. Or to put it another way: the Opel Adam S does not set many new records, it just makes good ground in the right places on the right people. In wide curves he unbuttons the Mini Meter, in angled he distanced the Audi, and straight ahead he turbo-whipped away from the Fiesta - a clear win on points. Which he quasi throws away when bringing it home: like the Audi, it moves too jitterily in the slalom, and like the Audi it brakes from 100 km /h south of 38 meters. Sure, this is not the carbon-fiber-ceramic connection, but such a mini is almost four meters earlier. Yes, four!

In addition to the necessary bite, the Opel Adam S also lacks a bit of the spectacle - just like everyone here, only that the discrepancy between appearance and appearance is a bit bigger because of the good lap time . Specifically: With its soft suspension and the slightly droll steering, it skilfully conceals how nimble and agile it actually is. A little tip to the Opel people: Normally you do it the other way around.

Now we certainly don't want to blame him on the performance, just ask: for more volume in the exhaust sound, maybe a little more feedback. But we would probably be drifting too far in the direction of OPC - or to stick to the playful model jargon: in the direction of Adam SOS. And then the alarm bells would ring again with the wards at home.

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