The Audi S1 is an easy car to like but a rather harder one to recommend. At least with the A1 quattro, buyers knew that they were getting a limited-edition collector’s piece.

Here, it’s harder to escape the feeling that although there have been sophisticated engineering alterations and deep changes to the A1’s underpinnings, you’re buying a moderately powerful small hatchback that offers fewer thrills than you can get elsewhere.

Very likeable but ultimately too expensive for the limited driver thrills that it can offer

For the same money as our options-equipped test car, you can buy Volkswagen’s deeply, deeply impressive Golf R.

For much less money than an S1 in standard form, the idea of a Ford Fiesta ST is a no-brainer, even before you consider the price difference.

And if drive to the rear wheels is really a deal breaker? Well, there’s always Toyota’s GT86 or a Subaru BRZ.

In short, for all of the S1’s likeability, everywhere else you look, there are preferable alternatives.

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