What is it?
There’s been a long run up to the Audi A1 Quattro. First we thought that the car now unromantically known as the Audi A1 1.4 TFSI (with 182bhp) was going to be badged as an S1. There was much talk of 4wd powertrains and other rumours.
Then, almost out of the blue, and just a few days before Christmas, Audi revealed the A1 Quattro and that it would build only 333 of them and all in left-hand drive. Numbers for the UK would be tiny; quoted as 20 but now down to 19, all sold.
The nineteen have bought an A1 that contains 600 new parts, starting with the 252bhp 2.0 TFSI engine at the front. The A1’s platform was obviously designed with all-paw drive in mind because there’s enough space in the tunnel along which the exhaust runs for a carbon fibre prop shaft to also live. The standard fuel tank gets in the way so Audi has replaced it with an upside down saddle tank, which because of the A1 Quattro’s tiny production run, is produced in stainless steel rather than plastic. Further back is a cut and shut version of the TTS’s multilink rear suspension.
Minor surgery has taken place in the shell to provide pick-up points for the suspension including new wheel wells. All-wheel drive is provided by the usual Haldex-supplied system of an electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch that sends all the torque to the front wheels in normal conditions – until things get un-normal and torque is fed to the rear wheels. You might expect to see a DSG in a car like this, but no, it’s conventional stick with six speeds.