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Audi S1 nears, but RS1 off the radar

Hottie: The Audi S1 is yet to emerge through offical channels, but this limited-run A1 quattro from 2011 gives some insight.

Global R&D chief reveals 165kW Audi S1 is close, but rules out potential RS1

Audi logo23 Sep 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

AUDI has revealed that it is deep in development of its first-ever S1, an upmarket circa-165kW hot hatch rival to the fiery new Renault Sport Clio, based on the A1.

The oft-speculated addition to the four-ringed brand was confirmed to GoAuto at the Frankfurt motor show earlier this month by Audi board member for technical development Ulrich Hackenberg.

Not all details are known, but many of the specifics are firming up. Dr Hackenberg confirmed the car would have quattro all-wheel drive and around 165kW of power.

Expect to see the production version emerge during, or before, next year’s Geneva motor show in March.

Dr Hackenberg also revealed that the S1 would be the peak of Audi’s compact hatch series, ruling out an even more hardcore RS1.

Audi says customers in the market for anything more powerful than an S1 would be more likely to look to buy a car in a larger class. The current smallest RS models are the RS4 Avant and TT RS, although a next-generation RS3 hatch is tipped to premiere next year.

“Actually S1 is the peak,” said Dr Hackenberg. “I can measure if someone has so much money for a car, they would want a bigger one. It’s easier to sell RS models starting bigger.” The road-going S1 will be inspired by the manic, rally-bred 188kW/350Nm A1 quattro that reared its head in December 2011. Only 333 units of that car were made, all in left-hand-drive layout.

The 2.0-litre TSI engine under the S1’s bonnet, a version of the new Golf GTI’s engine, will pump out between 220hp (162kW) and 230hp (169kW), or could potentially be offered in both outputs, with the more powerful available at extra cost, like the GTI.

Expect around 350Nm of torque, more than any comparable hatch (the Clio RS has 147kW and 240Nm, for instance). The car has previously been spotted testing at the Nurburgring.

Power is likely to be sent to the wheels via a Haldex multi-plate clutch all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission or six-speed manual gearbox.

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. The S1 could be expected to reduce that time to around 6.5 seconds.

Audi parent Volkswagen is still expected to produce a flagship Polo R which shares much of the S1’s componentry, inspired by the WRC Street Concept shown at last year’s Worthersee tuning festival.

Development of the VW rocket came about as a result of the necessary homologation and associated engineering work required for the World Rally Championship version.

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