Audi A1 quattro

16 Feb, 2012 3:33pm Owen Mildenhall

Limited-edition A1 quattro supermini gets all-wheel drive and a 252bhp engine

Verdict

4
The A1 quattro offers vastly improved performance and traction compared to the standard car. It’s a definite future classic, and the entire UK supply has already been snapped up. However, the work done to fit all-wheel drive means you can expect to see mainstream A1s with quattro in future. That’s the exciting news for all but the lucky few owners of this special edition.
It’s small, but packs a hefty punch. The Audi A1 quattro is the fastest and most powerful version of the company’s small car yet, and it brings a previously unheard-of level of performance to the premium supermini class.

However, only 19 examples of this ultra-exclusive model are coming to the UK, and total production is limited to just 333 cars, all of them left-hand drive.

Video: Watch Owen driving the A1 quattro on a frozen lake in Sweden


Yet despite the tiny number reaching our shores, this A1 is still big news. Not only is it the first A1 with Audi’s famed quattro all-wheel-drive system, it’s also the first baby Audi powered by a large-capacity petrol engine.

This special car was developed by Audi itself, not quattro GmbH, the subsidiary in charge of the company’s S, RS and R8 models. It took just 17 months to move from crazy idea to reality.

It’s only available in Glacier White with a black roof and tail inserts. There’s also red detailing inside the headlights, a revised grille, a roof spoiler, twin exhaust pipes and sportier bumpers.

But the changes go deeper than a flashy bodykit: 600 new or modified parts have been used. Under the bonnet is the same 2.0-litre TFSI engine found in the TT S, tuned to 252bhp and mated to a quattro drivetrain, which lies at the heart of this exciting model’s appeal.

Accommodating four-wheel drive required a host of changes, such as fitting heavily modified TT S rear suspension. This meant changes to the body structure and a new fuel tank, although the 45-litre capacity remains.

The rear diff fills the spare wheel well, while at the front, larger uprights make room for 16-inch brakes. Our test car was fitted with narrow ice wheels, but customers’ cars will get 18-inch turbine-style alloys, inspired by those on eighties rally Audis.

Even the conventional car’s front suspension gets revised spring and damper settings, so the A1 feels very different  from behind the wheel.

In normal conditions, power is sent to the front wheels, but if they lose traction, an advanced hydraulically activated multiplate clutch sends up to 100 per cent of engine power to the rear. This was very clearly demonstrated by our test drive on a frozen lake.

The A1 offers punchy power delivery and a great induction noise. It accelerates strongly and the six-speed manual box has a light and easy shift action.

The steering is conventionally weighted and the brakes deliver plenty of bite. As we were driving with studded tyres on ice, it’s hard to make a definitive judgement on the A1 quattro’s ability on tarmac, but body control was good and the ride was fairly firm.

Inside, there’s a gloss finish to the lower section of the centre console, black leather sports seats with red stitching, metal pedals and a smattering  of quattro badges. The cabin feels special, not stripped-out.

The generous list of standard equipment is entirely appropriate for a limited-edition car offering the sort of performance, style and power that’s rarely, if ever, found in such a small package.

Disqus - noscript

...you'd have to be an idiot.
Poor value for money for a pokey small car no matter how fast it goes.

@ LandRoverForever

You are an idioit. I understand, if A1 Quattro cost that much. 333 will be made, and its very rare.

334 fools & their money are easily parted. just how much did Audi spend on this latest episode of absolute nonsense, & how much of that spend is reflected in the prices of their mainstream cars which equates to rip-off to ordinary customers? absolutely pathetic.

Yes the Audi A1 is a bit pricy and I totally agree it should be a little cheaper, being a limited car always has a cost but the long term cost of Audi cars is what none Audi owners don't get, the quality of an Audi compared to cheaper mainstream car and the depreciation, not to mention long term cheaper running costs all add up to better for your bank balance, I have owned over 35 cars and different makes and come back to Audi cars, why? because of the above and being the best all round easy to live with in the real world!

Apart from the price of the A1 Quattro it is again a bench mark for most small hot hatch cars, a world beater in its class, or is it in a class of its own?

As a former Audi owner, I can thoroughly disprove the lie that Audis are somehow better made and more reliable than more mundane motors. Yes, there's a feel-good factor when you sit in one, due to the perceived quality of the interior, but underneath, the components are no different to those you'll find in any other VW group product.
BMWs still have the edge on depreciation, though I'd rather be driving an Audi when it snows, and the supposed cheaper running costs are offset by servicing costs inspired by Dick Turpin - though he, at least, had the good grace to wear a mask.

clio rs king of little hot hach would eat up audi on the small twisted roads, bargian of the century and car that gives you a pure driving pleasure for only 10 000pounds,leave audi to rich dadys chidren

Key specs

* Price: £39,930 (plus delivery)
* Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
* Power: 252bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
* Top speed: 152mph
* Economy: 33.2mpg
* Equipment: 18-inch alloys, LED rear lights, BOSE stereo, satellite navigation, leather-trimmed sports seats, parking sensors
* On sale: Sold out

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