We are big fans of Audi’s mighty little S1.
Its barrel-chested personality, wrapped in the A1’s capsule-sized body, is a concept that breaks the mould for its class and stands out as a unique performance vehicle. But we do find ourselves hung up on one thing. And that’s Audi’s tight leash on the S1’s potential.
Its engineers would have spent many late nights figuring out how to bolt an all-wheel drive system under an A1, and they dropped a 2.0-litre turbo four in its nose to complement the transplant.
Then, after all that, Audi de-tuned its big engine. Why in the world would it do that? We can only guess to keep it off the S3’s heels.But what if it was to also leave room for a truly unhinged ‘RS’? It would be easy to reap the extra performance an ‘RS’ badge demands from an Audi.
Since the go-fast bits already exist, you’d simply have to turn up the S1’s wick and add an upgraded cooling package. And, to top off this new turn of speed, we think it should score a styling package to celebrate the S1’s Group B ancestry.
Here’s how we’d do it
Thanks to VW’s efforts with the Golf R400 concept, we know the EA888 within the S1 has the potential to produce as much as 294kW and 450Nm. Borrowing the larger turbocharger from the Golf R, the RS1 will align its figures closer to the S3, instead, producing 221kW and 420Nm – a lot more than the S1’s 170kW/380Nm.
With the help of wider guards, and thus wider tyres, the RS1 should be able to breach 100km/h from rest in less than five seconds and the quarter mile in 13-flat. That’s using the same six-speed manual as before, which now uses upgraded bushes for better shift feel.
Considering the S1’s composure on road and track, its two-mode adaptive dampers will remain, however its lower control arms are now rose-jointed for better feel. Front brakes are now eight-piston jobs from the RSQ3 (why not).
Injecting the necessary venom for an RS variant is a new gaping front grille. It’s plugged with larger radiators as well. The guards are wider, to fit 245mm-wide tyres all ’round, and a bigger rear wing does its bit for downforce. The visual package also pays homage to the S1 Group B monster.
At base price, with the only interior modification being Recaro Pole Position seats, the RS1 asks for $65,990. However, that can quickly grow with options like the Group B sticker pack (as seen here), rally wheels, competition fog lights and a rear seat delete with C-Pillar brace for attaching harnesses.