What is it?
Offering permanent quattro four-wheel drive, a totally redesigned suspension system and a reworked Volkswagen Golf GTI engine with enough power and torque to put a full-size hot hatch in the shade, this car offers much more than the average warmed-up supermini. And with a full-fat asking price starting just below the £25k marker, it needs to.
The irony is that the S1 takes the place of the limited-run A1 Quattro – a car that sold out at a price north of £40,000. So even given that it's close to Renault Mégane RS 265 money, the S1 almost looks like good value.
But does it drive like it? The likes of the Mini GP and the Citroën DS3 Racing have already shown that it can make sense to downsize your fast hatchback by a class for a machine of real purpose, verve and distinction – and we rated both.
A full road test on the S1, unlocking every last scrabble and lunge of character and fun, will be forthcoming in a few weeks. Meanwhile, for some first impressions on British roads, read on.