By: IOL Motoring Staff

Ingolstadt, Germany - As the smallest member of Audi's 'S' family, the new S1 and S1 Sportback pack some serious potency into the A1's decidedly compact framework.

The heart we're referring to is a high-performance version of the VW Group's 2-litre TFSI turbopetrol motor, linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. In this form, the fiery four-pot produces 170kW and 370Nm.

This, they'll tell you, is enough to get you to 100km/h on a mere 5.8 seconds in the case of the S1 three-door and 5.9 seconds in Sportback guise. Both are limited to 250km/h. Claimed (laboratory) fuel consumption comes in at 5.8 and 5.9 l/100km/h respectively.

So in terms of outright poke, it kills everything in the B-segment brat pack, occupied by the likes of Clio RS, 208 GTI and Polo GTI. Of course, the next-generation JCW Mini is certainly going to challenge the S1 in this power tussle.

NEW AXLE + QUATTRO

Yet another not-so-secret weapon that this Audi has is its quattro all-wheel drive, featuring a hydraulic multi-plate clutch on the rear axle. Its ESC stability control system incorporates an electronic diff lock with fine-tuned wheel-selective torque control.

Its corner-munching ability is further sharpened by extensively revamped suspension - in fact it's practically brand new at the back end where a fully independent multi-link set-up replaces the compound link fitted to the rest of the A1 line-up.

Filling the S1's wheel arches is a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, which can be replaced by 18-inchers if you fork out a little more.

Also setting the S1 models apart from their tamer siblings is a set of redesigned xenon plus headlights and LED taillights with new horizontally structured graphics. What's more, the front and rear bumpers, side sills and exhaust system have a more striking design. Order the quattro exterior styling package and showing off comes courtesy of a large roof spoiler.

DARK INSIDE

The A1's cabin has a decidedly dark theme, dominated by black finishes, and contrasted by a few stainless steel accents, and you can brighten it up with more colourful accents by ordering the quattro interior styling package. Sports seats are standard, but buyers can go for that rally cabin feel by opting for the S sport seats with integrated head rests.

The wait? South African sales are scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.