Cute but deadly otter: The Audi S1

The Audi S1 is undeniably likable, yet recommending it proves challenging. In contrast to the exclusive appeal of the limited A1 quattro, the S1, despite its engineering enhancements, feels like a moderately powerful small hatchback.

Table of Contents

Audi S1 in red from the back

The Audi S1 is the smallest you can get on the S series from Audi. The S1 is the performance of the Audi A1. It remains the part of AWD superminis. It is at the top being an Audi with its Quattro technology. There is a new Audi A1, but to this day, there’s no successor for the first generation Audi S1 since 2018.

What’s the S1?

Audi S1 from front

Audi came up with a hit supermini car. There never was an Audi RS1, mainly because there wasn’t much to get out of this teeny-weeny car. There once was a super-limited A1 from 2012, which came close to that. The S1 debuted in 2014 till 2018.

The Audi S1 came in 2 body styles:

  • 3 door hatchback
  • 5 door Sportback
Audi S1 in yellow

Trims for the Audi S1

Optional Features

  • Body Kit – $3,990
  • Heated Front Seats – $600
  • Metallic Paint – $990
  • Parking Distance Control Front – $600
  • Performance Pack – $4,990
  • Protective Glazing – $750
  • Styling Pack – $900

A tiny powerhouse

Audi S1 in red on road

The engine for the Audi S1

Audi S1 engine

The Audi S1, born from the limited edition A1 Quattro, is the high-performance contender in Audi’s ‘S’ range, placed just below the S3. Despite its compact size, this supermini powerhouse packs a serious punch. Equipped with Audi’s renowned quattro four-wheel drive system and powered by the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine found in the Volkswagen Golf R, the S1 delivers an exhilarating performance.

Audi S1 in red on road

Pushing it to the redline is an experience like no other. The explosive power delivery becomes almost addictive. The 0-62mph time of just 5.9 seconds seems virtually surreal, challenging belief, primarily because of the sensation of speed; it feels even quicker.

Audi S1 6 speed gear lever

If you’re seeking a dual-clutch transmission, you should explore other options; the S1 exclusively offers a manual gearbox. While it’s not the slickest, it’s functional. However, it doesn’t match the precision of transmissions found in models like the Honda Civic Type R or Mini Cooper S.

Ride and Handling of the Audi S1

Audi S1 in red taking a turn

Audi’s recent performance models, like the Audi RS5 Coupe and RS4 Avant, have significantly improved steering feel. However, the S1 shares similarities with the outgoing RS6, lacking a connected steering response.

Audi S1 taking a turn

Despite the Quattro all-wheel drive system providing good grip during spirited drives, the loose steering makes maneuvering feel somewhat disconnected. While it engages you in sharp turns, navigating through them can be a mystical experience.

However, shifting to Dynamic mode enhances the driving experience with heavier steering, firmer dampers, and increased engine noise in the cabin, providing a more engaging drive.

The more petite body and front engine feel like an FWD because it has a heavier front. Also, the torque split for the Quattro is 60:40, mostly going to the show. It does go 50:50 when needed.

MPG of the Audi S1

The addictive performance from the car does drop a few bars on the fuel, but people have managed a 30mpg with that addiction specifically. Driving it like a sane human would increase this mileage.


What is found inside and outside the Audi S1

Audi S1 in yellow

Derived from the standard Audi A1, the S1 boasts a squat and compact appearance, even in its five-door version. Its short chassis, combined with tight bodywork, has a visual attitude that complements its pocket rocket performance.

Audi S1 xenon lights

The standard Xenon lights with the iconic Audi LEDs give the car its essential look.

Audi S1 badge on front grille

The 2014 Audi grill adds a grin to that tiny face.

The choice of colors in the S1 attracts people, knowing it comes in yellow, red, and green picks.

Audi S1 exhaust pipes

The Quad exhaust pipes add to that performance look for the Audi S1.

They are combined with the spoiler and extended side sills.

Audi S1 interior

While the S1’s interior maintains Audi’s trademark build quality, it shows signs of aging. The design is dated, featuring peculiar button placements, and many of its systems lag behind current standards. Notably, the instrument display resolution is comparable to that of a Mk4 Golf R32, which means it needs an upgrade in technology.

Audi S1 interior

While the optional Super Sports Seats offer excellent support, achieving a comfortable driving position for taller drivers is quite challenging. The oversized steering wheel comes in the way of knee room, and the steeply angled pedals add to the discomfort.

Audi S1 17 inch wheels

Additionally, the substantial ride and large alloys amplify discomfort. Bring heat patches for your back and earplugs to counter the intense tire roar during the drive.

The practicality of the Audi S1

Audi S1 trunk space

Adding a four-wheel-drive system to the A1 has resulted in a 30% reduction in boot space, reducing luggage room to 210 liters. The five-door Sportback version offers improved space, providing 270 liters of boot capacity, which expands to 920 liters when the seats are folded down.


The Audi S1 doesn’t include sat-nav as a standard feature, but it’s available as an optional upgrade. The traditional audio system has a DAB radio with a single CD player, Bluetooth music streaming, and voice control. For audiophiles, there’s an option to enhance the audio experience with a BOSE surround sound system featuring 14 speakers and 465 Watts of power.

Opting for the Technology pack introduces sat-nav displayed on the pop-up screen atop the dashboard. The package includes Audi Connect, transforming your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot, providing internet connectivity, and various in-car apps.

Verdict by Auto Journalists on the Audi S1

The all-wheel-drive system means the performance is accessible whatever the weather”-Matt Watson(Carwow)

“Well done, Audi, this one’s a proper little stonker: fast, small, fun, a 4wd hot hatch done properly.”-Topgear


Audi S1 with LEDs on in red

The engine is the show’s star here –a corker that propels the S1 hatch up the road in a way that feels faster. It’s also flexible when you’re not flat out and sounds good no matter the revs.

The S1 sticks to the road like glue, too.

Audi S1 in yellow at night

The Audi S1 is undeniably likable, yet recommending it proves challenging. In contrast to the exclusive appeal of the limited A1 quattro, the S1, despite its engineering enhancements, feels like a moderately powerful small hatchback, lacking the excitement of other options. I wonder why acquiring a collector’s piece never came to someone’s mind.

Attributes of the Audi S1


Why is recommending the Audi S1 challenging?

Despite its likability, recommending the S1 is difficult due to its moderate power and lack of excitement compared to other options. Unlike its limited edition predecessor, the S1 lacks a unique appeal as a collector’s piece.

Why was the Audi S1 discontinued?

THE AUDI A1 supermini was discontinued because, according to its boss, tighter emissions legislation makes the financial case for building trim petrol and diesel cars unviable.

What’s the price for a used Audi S1?

The price for the Audi S1 starts at $38,800 and goes to $45,000, depending on the car’s condition.

Written by: TAZ

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