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Hot A1 on Audi radar

Quattro loco: Audi has already produced a more performance-oriented A1 with the limited-edition quattro, but only in left-hand drive.

Audi Australia interested in S1 hot hatch if it gets the green light for production

Audi logo29 Jun 2012

AUDI Australia is interested in getting a more performance-oriented A1 variant, which has recently been spied testing at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany.

The anticipated S1 has not been officially confirmed for production, but the projected range-topping ‘S’ version of Audi’s chic light car appears to be all but a formality.

Reports out of Europe suggest that the pocket rocket will make its global public debut at the Geneva motor show in March next year before hitting overseas showrooms from the second half of 2013.

The S1 will almost certainly be toned-down from the rally-bred, limited-edition A1 quattro revealed in December last year, just 333 units of which are to be produced exclusivity in left-hand drive.

While the A1 quattro uses a 188kW/350Nm turbocharged direct-injected 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine sourced from the S3 and Volkswagen Golf R, British magazine Autocar reports that the S1 will use a less potent version of the same engine with around 165kW.

Being a performance Audi, power is likely to be sent to all four wheels via a Haldex multi-plate clutch all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.

7 center imageFrom top: Audi A1 Sportback Sport Audi A1 quattro.

The current most powerful A1 available here is the 136kW/250Nm front-drive Sport, which can sprint from zero to 100km/h in a claimed 7.0 seconds, so the S1 could be expected to reduce that time to around 6.5 seconds.

Audi Australia general manager of corporate communications Anna Burgdorf told GoAuto that the popularity of performance cars Down Under would make the S1 a natural fit, should it come to fruition.

“There’s certainly scope in the (A1) range for a more sporty vehicle, but there is no confirmation,” she said.

“I think we would be very interested to see what kind of package we could offer customers. At the end of the day, that is the important thing – the price proposition, the performance proposition and whether there is a market for it.

“I think we’ve proven this with the S3 and TT RS, so I think there would be a lot of interest in a car like that if it were to be confirmed.”

Should the S1 come to Australia, it would supplant the Sport (from $42,500 plus on-road costs) at the top of the A1 line-up and give Audi a natural rival for the Mini John Cooper Works.

While spy images of the ‘S1’ prototype being tested are of a three-door variant, a five-door Sportback version is also on the cards. Audi Australia added the five-door bodystyle to its local A1 range earlier this week.

Adding fuel to the fire, Volkswagen last month previewed its forthcoming R version of the Polo – the standard versions of which share mechanicals with the A1 – with the WRC Street concept, powered by a 162kW version of the 2.0-litre engine from the Golf GTI.

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