Audi’s hot baby

Road test: Audi S1 2.0 TFSI Quattro

The baby Audi A1 is now increasingly common on our roads. It is neat, well-built and a good drive. In true Audi fashion, there is now an ‘S’ version available and this means it is time to take another look.

Like the A1, the S1 is available with a number of different colour options for roof pillars and body but it remains pleasingly wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing unless you pick the Quattro pack and have graphics splashed all over the sides. Quad exhaust tail pipes, little red flashes on the S1 badges front and rear plus slightly revised bumpers are the real clues. Sports suspension, more direct steering and all-wheel-drive complete the package.

The S1 and S1 Sportback are in fact the same length and merely differentiate two- and four-door models; both look smart although the five-door version is possibly more pleasing in profile with the gentler proportion of the smaller rear wing.

All about the torque

The standard diesel and petrol engines in the A1 are good but the S1 has nothing less than the 2.0 TFSI petrol unit pushing out 231 PS and a useful 370 Nm torque. It’s the torque which really gives the car mile-eating properties – while working the gearbox may be pleasurable, it is certainly not necessary in order to cover ground quickly.

The little yellow car on test looks particularly cheery but inside it is the usual subdued Audi colours. Pull away though and you’ll find this is no ordinary A1. First, there is the continuous shove as the revs climb quickly. Then there are corners, mere inconveniences for this sure-footed Quattro model. It is incredibly forgiving. Back-off mid corner? No surprises. Bend tightens mid-way? Press the accelerator a little harder and you will just come out smiling.

Manual or manual

The six speed box is light and precise (excepting fifth on the test car which was marginally tighter). The S1 would be ideal for a dual clutch auto ‘box but we were assured it’s not in the pipeline. You’ll just have to enjoy some proper driving, clutch pedal and all.

It isn’t cheap with a £24,080 starting price (and our little yellow press car has a further £7,000 of options on it) but it is a unique take on this segment, offering the desirable badge, premium build quality and all important Quattro system. For comparison, a Ford Fiesta ST starts at £16,995 and Golf GTi at £26,330.

Like its larger S-prefixed siblings, it is fun yet remains sophisticated, a little aloof. For this reason, we love it, although the price tag and no DSG option lose it a point.

Audi S1 2.0 TFSI Quattro, from £24,080. (Model tested: £31,055 on the road.)

Power: 231 PS (@ 6,000 rpm), torque: 370 Nm (@ 1,600-3,000 rpm), emissions: 162 g/km CO2 (band G), 0-62 mph: 5.8 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●●○





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