Audi's RS1 is set to deliver 280bhp with four-wheel-drive; on sale next year, priced at around £30k
12 August 2016

An Audi RS1, boasting 280bhp and four-wheel-drive, has been given the go-ahead by Audi bosses.

The new model will act as a swansong for the current A1 prior to the arrival of a new, second-generation line-up in 2018. 

Set to go on sale early next year, the new hot supermini will fill the void left vacant by the earlier A1 quattro — a 258bhp version of the pre-facelifted A1, of which just 19 were sold in the UK in 2012.

Unlike the £40,020, left-hand-drive-only A1 quattro, the RS1 has been conceived as a regular production model, complete with righthand drive compatibility.

As a result, it will be priced more competitively than its limited-edition predecessor. Nothing is official yet, but suggestions are that the newest addition to the RS ranks will attract a handsome premium over today’s 228bhp S1, which costs £26,335, hinting that it will probably cost more than £30,000 in the UK.

As sister model to parent company Volkswagen’s upcoming Polo R, the RS1 is planned to rival a number of performance-based small cars, including the Ford Fiesta ST. However, the prime target for the new junior RS model — whose name was recently the subject of a copyright filing by Audi — is the Mini John Cooper Works. Sources close to the recently reorganised Audi Sport division say the RS1 has been extensively benchmarked against the hot Mini.

Power for the RS1 is planned to come from Audi’s widely used EA888 engine. The turbocharged 2.0-litre fourcylinder petrol unit, which, in its more highly tuned guises, uses a patented valve lift system to provide continuously variable camshaft control, is expected to develop around 280bhp.

This would provide it with 52bhp more than today’s S1, which uses a 228bhp version of the EA888 engine and whose output is the same as that of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in the Mini JCW.

Gearbox choices for the RS1 are likely to be a standard six-speed manual or a newly developed seven-speed dualclutch automatic unit that is engineered to handle up to 369lb ft. As with the S1, the RS1 is also set to receive a standard multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system as standard. 

With greater power, the RS1 should comfortably dip below the claimed 5.8sec 0-62mph time of today’s three-door S1. With similar gearing, it also should have the same limited 155mph top speed as the S1.

As with the S1, the RS1 is expected to be offered in both three and five-door — or Sportback — bodystyles. Following the launch of the RS1 next year, Audi plans to launch the second-generation A1 in 2018. Eschewing the PQ35 underpinnings of today’s first-generation model, it has been conceived around the VW Group’s versatile MQB structure, which Audi says provides the basis for significant increases in structural rigidity together with a reduction in weight due to the use of a so-called hybrid construction, with a combination of hot-formed steel and aluminium.

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Potent, four-wheel-drive supermini shows just what it's made of

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Comments
10

12 August 2016
I thought Ford had the rights to the RS moniker in the UK? Hence the reason Skoda couldn't call their range RS

12 August 2016
inside_man wrote:

I thought Ford had the rights to the RS moniker in the UK? Hence the reason Skoda couldn't call their range RS

Not sure about legal bits, but I know Audi have been using RS for ages and on different cars. There's probably no legal problem as it's got something to do with the actual name like a Q2 (which had lots of legal issues and they had to buy it from Fiat in the end) rather than the moniker(?)

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

12 August 2016
So some daft boy racer is going to pay 30 grand for this car which is in effect a 'run out' model? Yeah loads of depreciation on this one methinks even allowing for its specialty!

12 August 2016
For that money it's perilously close to the S3 which is bigger, much newer, 300PS and probably a much better all round car.

12 August 2016
I agree it is a bit small and RS3 would be a better choice,but with Quattro it has something its rivals don't have,and with its size it would be great fun on narrow winding moorland roads!
BTW, have you seen the rallycross version? 600HP!! It is tunable!

Madmac

12 August 2016
Wondered what had happened to the S1?

Peter Cavellini.

12 August 2016
"RS1 is expected to be offered in both three and five-door — or Sportback — bodystyles. Following the launch of the RS1 next year, Audi plans to launch the second-generation A1 in 2018. Eschewing the PQ35 underpinnings of today’s first-generation model, it has been conceived around the VW Group’s versatile MQB structure, which Audi says provides the basis for significant increases in structural rigidity together with a reduction in weight due to the use of a so-called hybrid construction, with a combination of hot-formed steel and aluminium."

Written to make it sound as if this RS1 will be built around a new platform. When of course it is not. Very sneaky writing.

13 August 2016
Too boy racer for me. A bit corsa VXR esque. Cheapens the RS brand. Will be quick point to point though.

14 August 2016
Can't criticise Audi for the looks when Autocar are guessing. The S1 has generally been regarded at a good, fun car. Better than an S3 when it comes to enjoyment, but just a bit too expensive when spec'ed up. This'll be a good car if you can justify the price.

15 August 2016
There is no Autocar comment on "guessing". You're guessing that. In any case, comment was on the picture provided and Audi advance pics on Autocar have been generally good. This looks very plausible. Autocar will have better inside knowledge than you I suspect (unless you're one of the Audi design team!).

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