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Audi unveils 370kW A1

Boosted: Audi's stunning A1 Clubsport quattro show-car sends the diminutive city-car into the stratosphere.

Outrageous Audi A1 Clubsport quattro to woo Worthersee showgoers

1 Jun 2011

THE annual Volkswagen-backed Wörthersee festival in Austria has developed a reputation for automotive craziness, but Audi may have taken the cake with the 370kW A1 Clubsport quattro that it will display at this year’s event.

At the pointy end of the one-off tiny terror is a modified version of the same 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder mill found in the TT RS and RS3 Sportback, but with tweaked turbocharger, intercooler, admission tract and exhaust.

Audi claims it can launch from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds and from 0-200km/h in a staggering 10.9 seconds, while 80-120km/h is dispatched in a measly 2.4 seconds in fourth gear. Top speed is governed to 250km/h.

Peak torque is 660Nm, while the whole 370kW is available from between 2500 and 5300 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels via a modified version of the Haldex four-wheel drive system and six-speed manual gearbox used in the TT RS.

The car tips the scales at 1390kg, giving it a potent power-to-weight ratio of 266kW per tonne.

The Clubsport quattro was revealed the day before the Australian launch of the comparatively tame Audi A1 Sport hot hatch, which will have a tweaked version of the Volkswagen Polo GTI’s 1.4 TFSI engine producing 136kW.

7 center imageWhile Audi is quick to stress that the A1 Clubsport is a show car, it highlights the high-end performance potential of the company’s raucous five-cylinder turbo engine.

The Clubsport’s rally car-inspired styling – a far cry from the chic and stylish A1 donor car - could preview a forthcoming S1 quattro production superhatch, although no official word has come out of Ingolstadt. Modifications to the matte white show car - which is 60mm wider than the A1 – include a naked carbon fibre roof, gaping front intakes, bonnet-mounted air vents, outlets in the front and rear fenders and a large double rear wing.

The car rolls on 255/30 low-profile tyres mounted on 19-inch alloy wheels with a special turbine design. Up front, the Clubsport’s six-piston callipers bite into perforated carbon fibre-ceramic discs, with large steel discs at the rear. The coil-over suspension also features adjustable compression and rebound damping.

Inside, the Clubsport is decked out like a race car for the road. The stripped interior has no infotainment system, while the relatively hefty standard seats have been ditched in favour of the R8 GT’s lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) bucket seats.

Audi has ripped out the rear seats and replaced them with large, body-stiffening crossbars, while a weight-optimised starter battery used in racing is mounted in the rear below the two-storage compartments.

Exposed carbon fibre coats much of the dashboard, instrument fascia and steering-wheel, while carbon fibre also covers the walls in the rear section of the car, the tubes of the air vents and the lower section of the centre console.

The rocker switches on the console replace switches on the control stalk and in the door panels. Three additional instruments indicate the oil pressure, boost pressure and electrical system voltage.

The centre console and the seats have leather upholstery with two-tone stitching, while the selector lever is made of aluminium. The caps of the pedals and the surface of the footrest are made of stainless steel, while red loops replace the handles on the doors, the glove box and the covers of the storage compartments.

The Volkswagen Group frequently uses the Wörthersee show to debut of some of its more outrageous creations, including the bombastic W12-engined Golf GTI 650 concept in 2007.

The GTI 650’s mid-mounted 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine produced 485kW, while its wild styling did its best to negate the old chestnut about the German sense of humour: those side vents clearly did not stem from the pen of a dour designer.

Volkswagen will reveal tamer Golf GTI special edition at this year’s show, dubbed ‘Edition 35’. The Golf 35, designed to celebrate the GTI’s 35th anniversary, produces 173kW – up 18kW on the standard model – from the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The Edition 35 also gets unique 18-inch ‘Watkins Glen’ light-alloy wheels, a subtly revised front bumper and the addition of LEDs in the headlights and tail lights, while the interior gains partial leather seats with ‘35’ logos stitched into the centre panel and a golf ball-style gearstick that pays homage to the Mk1 GTI.

Volkswagen Australia has confirmed that limited numbers of the edition 35 will go on-sale in Australia before the year is out, although how many and at what price is not yet known.

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