The Audi A1 is a lovely little car. It's small, unassuming, popular, well-made and really good to drive. Its build quality is up there with Audi standards, as are its engines. Like the cars it shares its platform with (the SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, and VW Polo, in case you didn't know), it's perfect for the hustle and bustle of the city.
However, unlike its VW Group stablemates, it doesn't have a properly "hot" variant. Yes, the 1.4TSI has the same engine as the SEAT Ibiza Cupra, VW Polo GTI, and Skoda Fabia vRS, but it's just another car in the lineup. There's no S1 lurking in the wings.
This is where the A1 Quattro comes in to play. Its tiny engine bay has been stuffed with the 2.0-litre turbo motor from the last-generation Audi S3. Its 252bhp makes it, unsurprisingly, rather sprightly. It'll see off the 0-62 mph dash in 5.7 seconds and hit 152 mph. But that's not all there is to the A1, oh no.
Audi A1 Quattro: When engineers are allowed to play (pictures) See full gallery
It's the only A1 with Audi's Quattro four-wheel-drive system, which means it's incredibly grippy...to a point. Its short wheelbase and immense power make it a touch twitchy and its limit, once met, can become a distant, spinny memory.
There's plenty of trick and rally-inspired engineering in there too. Carbon fibre this, rally-bred that litter its tiny cabin and make people interested in engineering go all weak at the wrists.
For me, the A1 Quattro's strength lies in its look -- big air dams, massive spoiler, "Quattro" badges dotted around the place, white wheels, giant exhausts and red details in the right places. It just looks... right. Like a little homologated rally car for real people. Sort of.
I say sort of because only 333 will ever be made. They're all left-hand drive and they've all been sold. Oh, and if you could get your mitts on one, it'd set you back over £40,000.
What Audi has created is a little chunk of fun; a little piece of loveliness that only ever happens once in a blue moon. For that we should be eternally grateful, not least because it proves that someone at Audi has a sense of humour.
|Torque||258 lb. ft.|
|0-62 mph||5.7 seconds|
|Top speed||152 mph|