For individuals who’d forgotten in regards to the existence of the A1 quattro, you are definitely not alone. Regardless of its significance to the quick Audi story – extra on that within the sec – it may be troublesome to recall. Why? The collection manufacturing S1 comply with up will not have helped, neither will the absence of an RS badge, or its conspicuous rarity. Mix all that with the ferocious tempo of Audi Sport growth – consider the assorted A3s, A4s, TTs and R8s which have emerged for the reason that quattro’s 2012 debut – and the A1 appears destined for a spot within the annals of the aficionado, fairly than widespread recognition.
Nonetheless, the A1 quattro is notable for loads of causes. And fairly good enjoyable, too. Certain, there are solely 20 within the UK and are the most effective a part of £40k if you could find one – no escaping that. However its story, growth and historical past are nonetheless fascinating, and due to this fact value sharing. As a result of if we’re not on PH for fascinating automobiles, then what are all of us right here for?
Audi needed to re-engineer the body-in-white of the A1 for the quattro, to accommodate a brand new multi-link rear axle in addition to the four-wheel drive bits. Boot house suffered fairly badly in consequence however was clearly deemed a worthwhile sacrifice. It was extra highly effective than the manufacturing automobile it will definitely spawned, and used a distinct engine. It was constructed by Audi, with no involvement from Audi Sport (or Quattro GmbH because it was then). It was left-hand drive solely, handbook solely and precisely 3 times extra RWS R8s will probably be made than this little A1. And keep in mind that they don’t seem to be even making a thousand of these R8s.
Moreover, if you happen to could not image the A1 quattro from reminiscence, there is not any risk of forgetting it after any time spent aboard. Maybe it is a contentious opinion – hopefully it is not – however does not it make the A1 look ruddy marvellous? There’s sufficient rally automobile perspective with out wanting OTT, and there is not any mistaking it for any common A1, but there’s high quality and cohesion to it as properly. Even somebody who did not know what the automobile was may guess it was an Audi product fairly than an aftermarket creation. And people wheels. Phwoar.
What makes the A1 quattro all of the extra fascinating is that it does not really feel merely like an S1 preview on some natty rims – it is a tangibly totally different automobile. Bizarre, however true. Key to that’s within the engine; as talked about it is totally different to the one which made it to the later S1, albeit nonetheless a 2.0-litre turbo. This automobile makes use of the older EA113, the later one the EA888 that is nonetheless seen in a bunch of VW hatches. Bear with me right here. The EA113 is much less torquey (making 258lb ft, in opposition to 273) however extra highly effective (256hp performs 231hp); as an older engine there’s some extra lag too, which solely serves to make that turbocharged rush all of the extra thrilling when it does arrive. An even bigger pause for extra energy (albeit solely a bit) and a must be in the appropriate gear does make the A1 thrill simply that bit greater than a S1, even when the tempo cannot be any totally different.
The quattro additionally defies Audi conference by being mode free: you get in, set your toes on three barely offset pedals and simply drive a really quick handbook scorching hatch. How novel. That stated, from reminiscence it feels that the S1 received a bit of extra within the dynamic growth – together with switchable dampers, remember – to make it extra fluid than this automobile appears. The journey of the quattro is that bit more durable, the automobile’s perspective sterner and stricter than the automobile which succeeded it.
Certainly on a B-road the A1 proves fairly feisty, requiring a agency hand to maintain it on line because the physique and wheels try to sustain with what is going on on beneath. Enjoyable in its personal type of means, if not probably the most satisfying leisure. Definitely there’s traction and tempo to spare, alike the A1 would absolutely ship on the poise with a much less brutally surfaced street. It is value noting too that these S1 drives can have been with field recent press demonstrators, whereas this automobile approaches its sixth birthday. Nonetheless, the brakes are good and progressive, the steering properly weighted and the scale nice for Britain – you should have pushed far worse quick Audis, for positive.
In truth, it is a very simple automobile to develop very keen on, thanks largely to the way it appears to be like but in addition due to its fairly peculiar make up. Here is a small Audi with vital engineering adjustments to preview a brand new mannequin, but utilizing an engine that was about to exit of manufacturing. It went utterly in opposition to the four-ring grain by eschewing driver configurability and automated transmissions. It was at all times going to face a tricky time within the courtroom of public opinion due to – let’s be sincere – a number of VW Polo bits and a £40k listing worth. And but it is no black sheep – not simply because it is actually fairly good, however as a result of it embodies a uncommon ‘as a result of we will’ perspective from the world’s most savvy product planners. What’s extra likeable than that? Simply remember to get within the incorrect aspect.
SPECIFICATION – AUDI A1 QUATTRO
Engine: 1,998cc, 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed handbook, all-wheel drive
Energy (hp): 256@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@2,500rpm
Prime pace: 152mph
Weight: 1,300kg (DIN, with out driver)
MPG: 33.2 (NEDC mixed)
Value new: £39,930