Given the laboriousness of the S1’s gestation, one would hardly have expected Audi to spare the zeros when it came to pricing the thing, but buyers are still best advised to consider the bottom line from a seated position.

At £25,940 for the three-door and £26,675 for the Sportback, the S1’s entry-level price is far closer to a Golf GTI’s than a Fiesta ST’s. And it really does represent a jumping-off point; despite being the A1 range-topper by some distance, it has not been equipped with much generosity.

The S1 should hold its value well for one so pricey

Our test car came with nappa leather seats, 18-inch wheels, sat-nav, cruise control, all-round parking sensors, high beam assist and a Bose surround system, but all were cost options, bumping up the price to £31,050 and putting it in the ballpark recently occupied by the vastly superior Golf R.

From a running costs perspective, the Golf R makes for appropriate company. At 40.4mpg, the S1’s quoted combined economy is actually a tad worse (Golf R 40.9mpg).

Supermini-sized rivals such as the Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTI both return 47.9mpg in ideal conditions and emit less than 140g/km of CO2.

The Audi’s large engine and manual gearbox mean that it can’t even slip under 160g/km like the DSG-equipped Golf R. Its 162g/km puts it in VED band G, making it £50 more expensive every year than the Ford or Peugeot.

Not a drastic impediment, but further straw for an already groaning back.

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