The S1 nameplate comes with a lot of heritage attached to it and it also represents the first time a Quattro all-wheel-drive system is offered in an A1.
With limited numbers of around 75 units set to arrive in SA next year (with an option to increase this to 100), the S1 is Audi’s definitive “pocket rocket.”
Stop and stare
Sharing the same body shape with its stylish sibling - the A1, which took the market by storm when it was launched a few years ago, the S1 is instantly recognizable by the headlights, front and rear bumper as well as side sills. The familiar four chrome pipes peek out the rear to signal intent.
The 17-inch alloy wheels and hefty 310mm large disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power.
Moving inside, the S1 specific door sill trims and flat bottom multi-function steering wheel are all Audi S traits. The revised instrument cluster and stainless steel pedals and footrests all hint towards its sporty demeanour.
Sharing many cabin qualities with the A1 does mean the S1 feels dated like the centre screen and MMI interface, which doesn’t offer the same sleekness as the A3 line-up.
However, the cabin is certainly a driver-focused environment and for those who want to customise their interior, the Quattro Styling Package is available for R22 000.
Under the hood, the S1 sports the familiar 2.0-litre TSFI found in the S1’s bigger brother, the S3. The engine’s been slightly down tuned and has 170kW of power and 370Nm on tap. The result is a 0-100km/h time of just 5.8 seconds.
Having spent the day with the new S1 around Kyalami it can best be described as a toddler on a sugar rush. The acceleration is rampant and given its small size and Quattro system with adaptive damping, the car just keeps going and going. For the first time, drive select is available on this type of vehicle and the results can immediately be felt.
Flicking through the various settings, the car becomes ever so playful when Dynamic mode is engaged. Available exclusively as a six-speed manual and boasting a top end of 250km/h this little Jack Russell knows how to have fun, without ever feeling like you’ll get yourself into massive trouble, thanks to the Quattro system.
Fuel consumption figures are a claimed 7.1 litres/100km in the combined cycle with a corresponding emissions rating of 166g/km.
The Audi S1 introduces a product to a new breed of boy racers, which is able to offer practicality and sportiness from the S1 Sportback. The car scores high on the fun-to-drive chart, thanks to its pure shove off the line. That being said, the Quatrro system does nanny you a lot through the corners.
Ultimately, given the heritage around the S1, the new model will work its way into the hearts of many. You can’t help but want to pull out your foam finger like an avid fan as the S1 motors past.
The Audi S1 comes as standard with a five-year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan:
Audi S1 R442 000
Audi S1 Sportback R449 500