The Audi S1 is kind of a distilled performance Audi – a typical ‘S’ car with four-wheel drive, a turbocharged engine, silvered door mirrors and quad tailpipes, but compressed into the diminutive A1 bodyshell. It was originally destined to come with the same 180hp power output that its PQ25-platform supermini peers from the other VW Group brands (Polo and Ibiza) mustered, but a triumph of performance engineering over brand marketing actually saw it receive a version of the 2.0-litre EA888 turbo four-cylinder with a punchy 231hp.
No expense was spared elsewhere in the car’s development too, it seems: that Haldex four-wheel-drive system required plenty of engineering jiggery-pokery, while the rear suspension was an expensive multi-link setup rather than a torsion beam that other A1s used. Oh, and the transmission was a six-speed manual only.
The only fly in the ointment was that it was pricey when new – an issue compounded by price rises through its lifetime. As a used car, though, it’s a much more tempting prospect, albeit a rare one – Audi only sold around 2,500 examples in the UK.