Friday, August 8, 2014

Audi S1 and S1 Sportback

2015 Audi S1

2015 Audi S1 Sportback

The Audi A1 city compact has spawned itself a hotter version called the S1 and no, it doesn't have to do with the S1 you rally fans know about. This is way different than that, ladies and gents. The S1 joins the hot hatch fray and you can think of it as a civilized version of a limited-edition Audi A1 quattro a couple of years ago because unlike the A1 quattro, the S1 looks like a regular Audi A1 but it's been sprinkled with too much sugar on it so it makes it feel like it's in a "sugar rush" right now, wondering what might have been.

The S1 is available in both the 3-door and the 5-door Sportback model and whichever S1 you're choosing, you will be greeted by the sound of its 2.0L TFSi engine. It may not be flashy but the engine that powers it delivers a modest 231PS of power output and 370Nm of torque output while mated with a six-speed manual gearbox. That sounds like fun to us but how does it behave like what every hot hatch in the world should?

Well, at that size, the S1 is worth crippling to our facial muscles but once you get this one right, it's not half-bad. Like most S-badged models, it comes with a quattro permanent all-wheel drive system that lets you have fun without crashing into something even on a rainy day in Europe. There's more in the driving dynamics because the compound link rear suspension used on the A1 has been thrown away and replaced with a four-link design, meaning that when you face it round the corner at a right speed, it feels surgical and clinical as every hot hatch should. This is somewhat more enjoyable to have than the hot Renault Clio that relies on double-clutch nonsense and the special party piece but even though this comes with a 4WD layout and a compact body, I'm afraid there's been some constraints because even with quattro, understeer can be a bit of a issue and if you mess this up, then you've been out of bounds for no reason.

2015 Audi S1 Sportback interior

2015 Audi S1 interior

So, while it maybe a decent track-day car when treated right, driving on normal roads can be somewhat not nice at all because even with quattro, the stiffened suspension really baffles you every time and when it encounters a bump, things get nasty. However, the real fun is when you stopped, you can enjoy what's inside on the S1 judging the fact that it comes with a Wi-Fi hotspot where you can spend some time surfing the net with your smartphones while on a stopover. This hot hatch can make you feel as busy as a Yuppie who yips a lot with his fellow yuppies.

So, should you buy one? The three-door S1 starts at 29,950 Euros while the 5-door Sportback is priced at 30,800 Euros so in terms of pricing, that's more affordable to own than the A45 AMG but more expensive than the Renault Clio RS or the Peugeot 208 GTi. Despite that, it's a smart buy for those who are looking for some hot hatches that does everything you want in a car that makes you smile. Treat this car with the respect and you can be good mates on the road ahead.

Photo: Audi AG

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