It's a supercar in supermini clothes! Audi has revealed the most potent version to date of its smallest model, the A1. Called the A1 Clubsport Quattro, the one-off concept will make its debut at the Wortherseetour event in Austria this week - an annual meeting for fans of VW Group cars.
Squeezed under the bonnet is a modified version of the 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine found in the TT-RS and RS3 Sportback. Thanks to a bigger turbo, intercooler and wider exhaust power has climbed to a massive 496bhp and 660Nm of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox and quattro permanent all-wheel drive, both borrowed from the TT-RS, transmit the power to the road.
Performance is almost on a par with the R8 V10 - 0-62mph takes 3.7 seconds, 0-124mph is dispatched in 10.9 seconds and 50-70mph in fourth gear is ticked off in just 2.4 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155mph.
It's not just the horsepower figures that catch the eye either, the 19-inch alloys use a unique turbine design, while carbon ceramic brake discs up front and steel discs at the rear provide the stopping power. Matte white paint, a carbon-fibre roof and wings, doors and side panels widened by 60mm add to the in-your-face styling.
A wild roof spoiler gives the car a visual link to recently unveiled Polo WRC car, which you can read about here, sleek side mirrors are taken from the R8 and vents behind the front arches are a nod towards the legendary Ur-quattro.
Inside the cabin, there's lighweight bucket seats taken from the R8 GT, while the rear seats have been ditched altogether. In their place is a large crossbar to stiffen the chassis even further and storage for a pair of A1-branded race helmets. Four-point seatbelts, swathes of exposed carbon-fibre and fabric door pulls complete the race-car-for-the-road makeover.
Audi is refusing to confirm that the concept has any bearing on future production models, but we already know a high-performance A1 - likely to be badged the S1 quattro - is on the way, and will featuring the same 210bhp 2.0-litre turbo as the the Golf GTI. We've also driven a prototype of another hot four-wheel drive A1, here.
Fancy a test drive in a 496bhp A1? The Clubsport quattro can be experienced virtually at world.needforspeed.com, home of the free to play online PC racing game Need for Speed World, between June 1-4.