With 0-62mph taking just 5.8 seconds, the S1 is the quickest car in its class and although it might not have the enthralling dynamics of some of its rivals, the grip of its four-wheel drive system means even a powerful sports car will have trouble keeping up on a tight twisting B road.
Based on the A1, the S1’s interior is starting to look a little dated, particular when compared to the much newer Mini. The quality of the fixtures and fittings is indisputable, though, and the fast hatch marks itself out from the rest of the range with a sprinkling of S1 badges, alloy pedals, a sports steering wheel and leather sports seats.
As a small car, it is not particularly spacious, but the Audi makes the best of the room that is available and four adults can fit so long as it’s not for too long. It’s also available in five-door ‘sportback’ form if you need easier access to the rear seats.
From outside the S1 is easy to distinguish from a regular A1 thanks to its 17-inch alloy wheels, sporty body kit and roof-mounted spoiler, while the four exhaust pipes hint at the powerful engine shoehorned under its tiny bonnet.
A long standard equipment list goes some way to justify the car’s high price – you get xenon headlights, auto lights and wipers, climate control and adjustable dampers, but sat-nav remains a £570 option.
The all-weather S1 treads on the heels of some very capable, more expensive machinery
The Audi S1 has many positive characteristics – it’s fast, stable and feels upmarket. It has one of the best engines Audi currently offers and would show most of the competition a clean pair of heels point to point. Some rivals offer more thrills, but the S1’s biggest problem is a price that makes it look expensive.
If you want to read a more in-depth review of the S1, look at the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections over the following pages. Or, if you simply want to see how much you can save on an S1, just click through to our deals page.