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Audi S1 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
7.6
Peter Anderson road tests and reviews the Audi S1 with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Spoilt. That's what we are. If you're in the market for a hot hatch, you can have your pick of German-built and French ones from as little as $27,000. There isn't a dud among them now that the VW Polo GTI has had a bit of an update and you can pick and choose your style. Audi's S1 is aiming to be king of the kids with its stiffly-priced S1.

Set the finances aside and consider for a moment what's on offer. As it turns out, a lot.

Audi S1 2015: Sportback 2.0 TFSI Quattro
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.1L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$27,720

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

Starting at $49,900, Audi S1 is by far the priciest of the small-hatch based hotties, at least until Mini's madcap JCW arrives. This price is just almost double that of VW stablemate's forthcoming 2015 Polo GTI.

Standard on the manual-and-five-door-only S1 is a ten speaker stereo, climate control, ambient lighting, remote central locking, cruise control, satnav, headlight washers, auto headlights with xenon low beams, partial leather seats, leather-bound steering wheel, auto wipers and rear parking sensors.

Our Misano Red ($990 option) came with two extra packs. The Quattro Exterior Package ($3990) adds bi-xenon headlights with red trim, red brake calipers, spoiler, quattro logos on rear doors (ahem!) and five-spoke 18-inch alloys that are part matt black, part polished.

The Quattro Interior Package ($2490) adds S Sport front seats with Nappa leather and red backrest capping with quattro logo (ugh), more nappa around the cabin with contrast stitching, flat bottom steering wheel and red rings on the air vents.

There's an S Performance Package that brings the best of these two packs together for $4990, saving about $1500 and the embarrassment of the quattro logos.

Our test car also had aluminium air vents ($220), black contrasting boot lid ($300) and black roof ($720).

The A1 is so small it starts to strain Audi's design language

The grand total is a sobering $58,610. There's a couple more options that'll easily pop you over $60,000.

Audi's MMI is dash-mounted in the A1 as there's no room on the narrow centre console. As ever, it works well and doesn't take much getting used to. The satnav is a bit grainy on the smaller screen but is otherwise a competent unit.

Sound is from a ten-speaker stereo and you can stream across Bluetooth or plug in a memory card. The sound was good but the system did take a while to find the phone whenever we came back to the car.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The A1 is so small it starts to strain Audi's design language. When you cram on the S-style bumpers and raccoon-eyed trim on the hatchback, it's starts to look a bit busy.

It isn't quite a shrink-wrapped A3 - Ingolstadt's designers know better than that - but it's full of Audi design cues, such as the strong, light-catching character lines, distinctive LED daytime running lights and fondness for big wheels.

Inside is along the themes of the A3, with what are becoming Audi's trademark; round eyeball air-con vents, the manual fold-down screen familiar to Q3 owners (but smaller) and a good clear dash. The handbrake jars slightly as it feels cheap to hold and wobbles a bit.

The S Sport seats are big and comfortable, and the top half of the backs are capped in plastic, which was colour-coded on our car. The rear passengers will certainly get an eyeful of whatever terrifying hue you've chosen, so choose wisely.

Despite the five doors, the back seats are occasionals, like the Mini the A1 is gunning for, and the boot is very small, but okay for shopping for couples or singles.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

Six airbags, stability and traction control, ABS, brake assist and distribution all add up to a five star ANCAP rating.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

Verdict

Cars this small shouldn't be this fast and useable at the same time, but the Audi S1 is. It isn't without its problems - the ride is harder even than the Fiesta ST which might weary some prospective buyers.

It's also a bit difficult to justify the price - in its basic form it's missing a few creature comforts that you'd expect in a $50,000 car - reversing camera, high-res screen, that sort of thing.

However, in the hot hatch world, those things don't matter. It has the bragging rights, the tech and the outright blinding speed to take on the bonkers Focus ST and equally zany Megane RS. And even the Audi S3.

Pricing Guides

$30,580
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$27,720
Highest Price
$33,440

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Sportback 2.0 TFSI Quattro 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $27,720 – 33,440 2015 Audi S1 2015 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.6
Price and features7
Design8
Engine & trans8
Safety7
Driving8
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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