The first thing that struck me as I saw the car in the dealership was the diamond grill, which made it look like it was wearing an expensive necklace, no wonder my wife fell in love with it! The styling makes it stand out amongst the city traffic, with the proportions and creases working to make the car look fantastic from the outside. I actually prefer the look of the grill and rims over the A45's more aggressive styling.
Opening the door presents ambient lighting illuminating the door sill and the seats, reminding you that you're about to enter a premium vehicle. The heated electric leather seats fit like a glove and the memory button is really handy when you're sharing the car with your significant other who sits way too close to the steering wheel. The steering column gear shift takes a bit of getting used to, but the extra storage bins in the centre console makes up for the strange setup.
The drive is quiet and silky smooth, with enough compliance that you'll feel every pothole without getting to uncomfortable. While the acceleration won't tear your arms out, it's quick enough to put a smile on your face if you give it a boot full. It has a huge amount of grip in twisting roads and is great fun to drive with the sunroof down and the sun in your face. On a spirited drive you need to keep the revs up as there is not a lot of power below 4,000 rpm and the gear changes aren't lightning fast, so you need to change gear just before you think you'll need to. In comparison the Golf GTi feels quite a bit quicker off the line and doesn't require as many revs to get moving.
The radar collision warning works a treat, beeping loudly, applying the brakes and pre-tightening the seat belts if the car in front stops suddenly, which is great for city driving where drivers are unpredictable. The parking sensors and auto park function are great to entertain passengers and reduces the chance of scratching the rims or body work.
Having had the car for 18 months, there have been no issues with reliability. A flat tyre was painful as there is no spare tyre, just a tube of goo. Servicing costs aren't astronomical, but replacing the factory tyres will burn a hole in your wallet.
This is a brilliant city car with enough performance to comfortably exceed the signposted suggested cornering speeds during a weekend blast on a twisty back road. The only issue I have with the car is that it's not all-wheel-drive with doesn't have 265KW's, so in other words, it's not an A45.