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 Audi A1’s underpinnings, you’re buying a moderately powerful small hatchback that offers fewer thrills than you can get elsewhere.
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.