Audi S1 Sportback
If you have been clued into the world of Audi, you'll know that the company introduced a very limited edition Audi A1 Quattro back in 2012. Priced at £41,035 and limited to a production run of just 333 cars, it was a super rare and frankly stunning hot hatch that set the reviews alight.
Keen to give the A1 even more sporty credentials, Audi has now introduced a more mainstream Quattro equipped A1 into the market, and it's called the S1. It follows in the footsteps of Audi's other 'sport' cars, such as the S3, S4, and S5, and like those cars, it promises huge levels of speed combined with huge levels of refinement.
So does it deliver?
Well, let's get one thing out of the way - the S1 costs £25,630 in Sportback guise, which is around the same price as a Volkswagen Golf GTI pre-registered. But the S1 is no Golf competitor, it is in fact in the same class as the Polo, only VW's car cannot get close to the performance figures of the S1. Until, at least, the Polo R is finally available.
Under the bonnet of the S1 is a 2.0-litre TFSI engine that produces 228 bhp and 272 lb /ft of torque, and that is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. Like all S cars, the S1 was Quattro all-wheel-drive, which in this car is achieved with a Haldex-style electro-mechanical multi-plate clutch.
The result of this power and traction is a 0 - 62 mph time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
To put that into context, the Audi S3 will complete the 0 - 62 mph sprint in 5.2 seconds and reach the same top speed. A Volkswagen Golf GTI will go on to the same top speed, but can only manage the 0 - 62 mph sprint in 6.3 seconds - and that's with the Performance Pack.
Make no mistake, then, that the Audi S1 is a very fast car. In fact, there is no hot hatch in its segment that can match its performance figures, and it'll even whip cars like the Vauxhall Astra GTC VXR in a straight line.
When it comes to handling, the S1 is as slick as you'd expect it to be. It weighs just 1340kg and combined with its all-wheel-drive system, that means almost limitless grip and real chuckability. It lacks the steering feel of a Ford Fiesta ST, but it is an extremely good car when the speeds start to climb.
And then, there's the refinement. This is an A1, remember, which means hardly any road or wind noise and a top quality cabin.
The outright speed, combined with the quality cabin and technology, makes the S1 a tempting car for almost anybody. But can it sway potential S3 owners away?