Back in the 1980s an Audi S1 garnered a legendary reputation – it was the car that would see the brand dominate the World Rally Championship in its day. Now the abbreviation is coming back – but this time as a road-going version: the Audi S1 and the S1 Sportback constitute the new flagship models in the compact A1 model line (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.1 – 3.8 [33.13 – 61.90 US mpg]; combined CO2 emission in g/km: 166 – 99 [267.15 – 159.33 g/mile]), adding an entry-level version to the Audi S model portfolio.
A high-performance four-cylinder unit provides the drive. The 2.0 TFSI fitted with a turbocharger develops 170 kW (231 hp) and produces up to 370 Nm (272.90 lb-ft) of torque. The two-liter engine accelerates the Audi S1 and the S1 Sportback from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.14 mph) in 5.8 and 5.9 seconds respectively. The top speed is 250 km/h (155.34 mph). On average the sporty, sonorous TFSI consumes just 7.0 (33.60 US mpg) or 7.1 (33.13 US mpg) liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (162 and 166 grams CO2 per kilometer [260.71 g/mile / 267.15 g/mile]) respectively.
Like all Audi S models, the S1 and the S1 Sportback also come with quattro permanent all-wheel drive onboard. At its heart is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch located on the rear axle. Its specifically tuned control software boasts a decidedly dynamic setup. The electronic differential lock with the fine-tuned wheel-selective torque control is a function of the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC). It features two-stage deactivation and supplements the work of the multi-plate clutch with additional finely metered braking intervention on the inside wheels – the interaction of both systems makes for extremely agile, precise and stable handling.
The suspension on the two compact sport models has been extensively revamped. The electromechanical power steering has been newly developed. Modified pivot bearings on the front axle enhance spontaneity when turning. At the rear a four-link design also supports direct handling and agile cornering. The setup is sporty and firm; the Audi drive select dynamic handling system comes with a range of settings to vary the response of the engine, automatic air conditioning and the likewise standard variable shock absorbers.
A larger brake master cylinder as well as large brake disks – front 310 millimeters (12.20 in) in diameter – ensure excellent deceleration. Red brake calipers with S1 logo can be ordered as an option. The two sporty compact models are supplied ex factory with 17-inch wheels with 215/40 R17 tires; Audi offers 18-inch wheels with 225/35 R18 tires as an option.
The Audi S1 and the S1 Sportback are instantly recognizable as the flagship models in the A1 model line. Their xenon plus headlights are all-new while the LED rear lights come with new, horizontally structured graphics. A host of details – particularly on the front and rear bumper, the side sills and the exhaust system – boast more striking styling. Four new exterior colors supplement the available paint finishes. The optional quattro exterior styling package hones the look further, courtesy of features such as a large roof spoiler.
The interior of the two compact sport models is finished in dark tones; black dominates, including on the air vent sleeves. The instruments feature S-specific dark-gray scales; the pedal caps are made out of brushed stainless steel. As an alternative to the standard sport seats, Audi fits the S sport seats with integrated head restraints. The quattro interior styling package can be selected as an option to add striking color accents.
The price of the Audi S1 and the S1 Sportback, which will be available at dealers in Germany in the second quarter of 2014, will be €29,950 and €30,800 respectively. The extensive standard equipment can be supplemented with optional high-end features such as the convenience key, the MMI navigation plus with fold-out color monitor or the BOSE surround sound system. The Audi connect module including car phone provides a connection to the Internet, allowing passengers to access the Internet and send e-mails on their mobile devices via a Wi-Fi hotspot, while the driver enjoys in-car access to tailor-made services from Audi connect.