Audi S1 - exclusive pictures

6 Jan, 2009 5:24pm Sam Hardy

We take a look at Audi's top secret MINI Cooper S rival, and reveal how pocket rocket is shaping up.

Take a look at Audi’s pocket rocket! This stunning machine is the S1 – a super hatch flagship that will sit at the very top of the German firm’s all-new small car range.

Gunning for high performance small cars such as the MINI John Cooper Works and the forthcoming Alfa MiTo GTA, the S1 will be the ultimate evolution of the A1 line-up, packing 200bhp and a Quattro four-wheel drive chassis.

But it’s the looks that will have buyers beating a path to Audi’s showrooms. Taking the compact, chunky A1 three-door shape – previewed by the Metroproject Quattro concept, revealed at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show – the S1 adds an aggressive bodykit.

It features flared arches, filled with 19-inch alloy wheels, a neat roof-mounted spoiler, and a particularly aggressive front end with a low front splitter, deep air intakes and menacing daytime LED running lights. Chrome highlights finish the visual upgrades.

The A1 line-up is set to benefit from a wide range of innovative, small capacity, forced induction engines including a turbocharged1.2-litre TFSI unit for the entry-level model – and the S1 will be no different.

Under the bonnet will be a development of the same supercharged and turbocharged 1.4-litre engine as the VW Polo GTi (Issue 1,044) and SEAT Ibiza Cupra. In those models, the unit produces 178bhp – but thanks to some upgrades and a tweak of the ECU, the tiny powerplant will produce in excess of 200bhp and 300Nm of torque.

Hooked up to a seven-speed S-Tronic twin-clutch gearbox, the S1 should provide shattering performance. Expect a 0-60mph time of around six seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph. However, it’ll also be economical too – that small capacity should mean it’ll return 35mpg combined.

Making sure all that power reaches the road is a four-wheel drive system, biased 40:60 in favour of the rear wheels. Together with lowered and stiffened suspension, the little Audi should feel every inch the baby Quattro, offering lightning reactions and amazing grip.

It’s also likely that Audi will make its magnetic dampers available too. These will work in conjunction with Drive Select – a system which offers owners the choice of several driving modes including Dynamic and Comfort, allowing them to sharpen steering, throttle and suspension response according to road conditions.

Indeed, the S1 is likely to be a real technological tour de force. Audi has already previewed many new ideas on the Metroproject concept car, including an interface that allows owners to control many of the car’s functions through their mobile phones. This is likely to be an option on top-spec models such as the S1.

Factor in a sporty cabin with a flat-bottomed steering, figure hugging, lightweight seats and aluminium pedals and the result will be a high quality small performance car with real showroom appeal. It won’t come cheap, though. While entry-level A1 models are likely to kick off at £13,000 when sales start in early 2010, the S1 will weigh in at £25,000.

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Are these official pictures of the S1 or are they Auto Express's computer generated ones? Since pics of the cooking version of Audi's A1 haven't been officially released yet, (as far as I know), I'm inclined to go with the latter option. However, regardless of this, if the spec of the S1 is official as written in the above article, that is some serious kit and while I can never hope to have 25k just flying loose in my bank account, if I had, then I would seriously be thinking of buying one.

That is one ugly design.

the jury is still out on that one.

Nice but I doubt it'll ever happen. If anything it'll be front wheel drive and wont have the magnetic dampers.

Shame about the engine too. 200bhp is ok as a starting point, but a good percentage of VAG owners modify their cars for more power and I doubt the 1.4 will be anywhere near as tunable as the old 1.8T was.

Boring more like. Even VAG's Ibiza looks more interesting.

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