A great name makes a comeback: Audi is presenting the S1 and the S1 Sportback, the new flagship models in the compact A1 model line. Their 2.0 TFSI develops 170 kW (231 hp) and produces 370 Nm (272.90 lb-ft) of torque; the quattro permanent all-wheel drive and the extensively revamped suspension put the power effortlessly down onto the road. The Audi S1 and the S1 Sportback set the benchmark in their class for dynamic performance.
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, 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 (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 or 7.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (162 and 166 grams CO2 per kilometer 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 set-up. 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, along with the electromechanical power steering. Modified pivot bearings on the front axle enhance spontaneity when turning. At the rear, a four-link design replaces the compound link rear suspension used on the A1 models. The set-up is sporty and firm; the Audi drive select dynamic handling system comes with a range of settings to vary the response of the engine and the standard variable shock absorbers.
The Audi S1 and the S1 Sportback are instantly recognisable 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 colours 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 price of the Audi S1 and the S1 Sportback for the Irish market has yet to be confirmed and will be announced by the end of February.
“The Audi S1 offers all the virtues of a sports car, great performance, direct handling and permanent quattro drive that puts the power to the road in a superior way,” says Prof. Dr Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development, adding: “The quattro drive has a large following of fans, which is sure to become even larger thanks to the offering in this segment.”