Audi will enter the junior hot hatch ranks with the new 180bhp S1 in 2011
4 January 2010

Audi will enter the junior hot hatch ranks with the new 180bhp S1 in 2011, taking on the Mini Cooper S and Alfa Romeo’s new Mito Cloverleaf.

The S1 is scheduled to make its world debut at next year’s Paris motor show. UK sales will start six months later, with prices expected to kick off at £19,000.

Audi S1 and Audi A1 cabriolet Autocar renderings

The A1 and S1 were first previewed over two years ago, when Audi showed the Metro Project Concept, since renamed A1. The production S1 will feature the newer interpretation of Audi’s single-frame grille, as seen on the five-door Sportback concept.

The S1 will also get deeper bumpers, a lower ride height, chrome-coloured mirror housings and 17-inch wheels.

A sister car to Volkswagen’s upcoming Polo GTI — alongside which the new Audi is currently being developed — the S1 uses a tuned version of the VW Group’s versatile turbocharged 1.4-litre, direct-injection four-cylinder engine.

Already used by Audi in the entry-level 122bhp A3, the S1’s engine will get increased boost pressure and other detailed changes to the induction system to increase power to 180bhp and torque to 184lb ft.

However, the S3 will do without four-wheel drive, making it the first S model not to use a quattro drivetrain. Instead, the S1 will be front-wheel drive, using a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with steering wheel paddle shifters.

Although the S1 is still more than year away from going on sale, Audi development boss Michael Dick has already indicated that the car’s performance will match that of rivals such as the Mini Cooper S and Mito Cloverleaf. He put the S1’s 0-62mph time at under seven seconds and said its top speed will be beyond 140mph.

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More than straight-line performance, however, it is the dynamic properties that will set the new car apart, Dick said.

“A great deal of attention has been paid to the tuning of the front end, particularly the properties of the bushes and the electric steering rack. We’ve found an excellent combination of steering feel and overall grip,” he said.

Before the S1 arrives in British showrooms, Audi will establish the rest of the A1 range. It is hoping to emulate the success of Mini, which has enjoyed a worldwide sales climb to over 200,000 units a year (more than a fifth of Audi’s total 2009 sales volume) in recent years. Audi boss Rupert Stadler confirmed that UK sales will begin next September, after the car’s launch at the Geneva show in March.

The smallest and most affordable Audi since the demise of the A2 in 2007 is based on VW’s PQ25 platform — as used in the VW Polo, Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia.

The steel-based structure has been selectively modified by Audi. It has added stiffening within the floorpan and made changes to the chassis (a mix of MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the rear) aimed at providing greater levels of refinement and more engaging dynamics than its cheaper VW Group siblings.

The A1 will be launched as a three-door. Audi intends to market it as a coupé and aim it directly at the Mini and Mito. A year on from launch, a more practical, family-oriented five-door A1 Sportback will be added to the line-up as a rival to the Mercedes-Benz A-class.

Also under development in Ingolstadt, but not due until 2012, is an A1 cabriolet with a fabric roof. The car will be launched with four-cylinder petrol engines: an entry-level 85bhp 1.2 and a 122bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre unit.

They will be joined by three diesels: a 74bhp 1.2 three-pot and Audi’s new 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit in 89bhp and 104bhp guises. A 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel is also under consideration, although it isn’t likely to form part of the initial line-up.

Greg Kable

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4 January 2010

Isn't Fabia based on previous-gen platform?

4 January 2010

Mr German car maker,

Make us a RS1 please.

Take away the electric steering.

make the metal thicker like you say.

Put a torsen 4wd system in with torque vectoring.

Contact the english fellows at lotus and have them give your car steering feel and good handling please.

That would be a nice. S^ht i'm off my meds...

its a red polo, I can see it now, sorry people for the posting.

4 January 2010

So in simple terms pretty much the same car mechanicaly and performance wise as the Ibiza Cupra and forthcoming Fabia VRs. With Audi clothes and probably retuned suspension for approx 3K more. Wonder how much the Polo GTi will be? I would guess at 17.5-18K???

4 January 2010

Agree, we need a S2 Quattro!!

Not another FWD Hot Hatch,....yawn!!

4 January 2010

The platform won't acomodate the multilink suspension or have the space for the rear diff and prop shaft. The best we can hope for is electric motors in the rear wheels to replicate 4wd as propesed in the hybrid/electric version?????

VAG is making cars that are too similar across the brands for economic reasons, whay all use the same engine and gearbox combo and brakes and steering rack and.....only to reclothe and retune the EPS and suspension. At least with the Golf GTD, Leon FR and Octavia each has gone down a sliughtly different route using the same parts. Octavia VRs more of a cruiser decent boot, Golf GTD quality and compliant ride blend of Octavia/Leon, Leon most sporty and best value.

4 January 2010

And the Audi is a Polo with no spring..... James.

4 January 2010

well the seat ibiza didn't set the world alight with this engine or gearbox - autocar said its crying out for a manual - and I agree - the flappy paddle gearbox isn't great at all - surely a manual would be cheaper to produce - although if they are charging £19,000 they need some gimmik to get people to pay up.

4 January 2010

i quite like the look of this and i'd choose one over a mini cooper s but 180bhp for £19000 aint that good these days i mean even a vauxhall corsa vxr has more bhp unless your a badge snob then the audi is for you! in saying that though i would give it a look and even if it shares a lot with other vw group cars its still more desirable!

4 January 2010

Not a bad effort design wise but I don't think BMW will be overly concerned. It lacks the chic of the mini.

VAG are also starting to take the mick - £19k for a reclothed VW/Skoda/Seat. Why bother paying the premium for an Audi ?

4 January 2010

"However, the S3 will do without four-wheel drive, making it the first S model not to use a quattro drivetrain. Instead, the S1 will be front-wheel drive, using a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with steering wheel paddle shifters"

First, there's a typo. I'm sure "S1" is correct.

What A1/S1 is offering is similar to a scaled down Golf R with 4Motion removed and simplified rear suspension set-up. If MiTo Cloverleaf (Quadrifoglio Verde) concept is any proof of concept, it's possible to have a pleasable hot hatch without multi-link, AWD, and mech. LSD.

I drove the regular MiTo and I was satisfied with Q2 (electronic), D.N.A. and 155 bhp under the hood. I'm sure that the 15bhp more and MultiAir's low rpm torque boost in adition to active damping is good for any non-racer. And there's the stop-start system to convince your friends that you were shopping for a smart buy, as 47.1mpg combined is achievable.

I look forward to sampling a Polo GTI 1.4 TSI and see what it is capable of.


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