It seems that every sector of the automotive industry is now more competitive than ever, as manufacturers constantly seek new niches to exploit, before having to defend that hard earned territory when their rivals look to follow suit. It is thanks to this unending struggle that the past few weeks have seen Audi, once a maker of solid saloons, sporty coupes and world beating race cars, announce both the new range-topping Q8 SUV, and a successor to the supermini A1, a car for all intents and purposes at the opposite end of the automotive spectrum.
That's not to say that Audi has forgotten where it came from, of course. The new A1 is plenty schporty, with aggressive styling said to reference the original 1984 Sport Quattro - how about those bonnet slits, eh? - sports suspension, optional adaptive dampers, and up to 200hp thanks to the option of a 2.0-litre four pot engine. The launch edition even comes with a set of very snazzy 18-inch bronze wheels.
This being PH, though, we care rather more about the version which goes fast than the one which merely looks it. That'll be the new S1, the successor to a car which weenjoyed when we drove it four years ago, and which was itself inspired by the incredibly cool Audi A1 Quattro that we spent time in more recently.
Release date and specs
A new S1 is yet to be officially confirmed, but Autocar reports that the model is set for a predictable 2019 return. Like the previous iteration it will feature all-wheel drive as standard, with power expected to increase to around 250hp thanks to a more highly strung version of the 2.0-litre petrol found in the most potent A1. That ought to see a noticeable improvement over the outgoing car's 5.9 second 0-60 time, bringing it more into line with rivals from other brands.
It should look, and sound, even meaner than before as well - flared arches, lower ride height (currently -25mm from A1 to S1), bigger wing, etc. - especially with the aesthetics of the new A1 as a starting point. Fingers crossed that the A1 Quattro's white wheels make a comeback too...
It will differ from its predecessor in two key areas, however. The first being the lack of a three-door option, what with the new A1 being available in five-door format only, and the second being the likely addition of a seven-speed S Tronic automatic transmission. The new 2.0-litre A1 receives the auto 'box as standard, with the rest of the range getting a six-speed manual in its place. The previous S1, of course, was available with three pedals only.
2019 Audi S1 price
With the A1 expected to rise in price to around £16,500, a similar increase should be expected for the S1. This would see it nudging the £28,000 mark, an area where there is already considerable competition. Whether the new car will be able to hold its own there, we will have to wait and see.