Wild Thing

Audi has created a wild 370kW version of its entry level A1 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Woethersee festival for Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen fans held in Reifnitz, Austria every year.

Called the A1 clubsport quattro, the one-off show car adopts a rally car inspired styling that is said in part to preview the appearance of a hot new four-wheel drive S1 quattro model that is being developed by Audi as a rival to the likes of the Renault Clio Sport.

At the heart of the new hatchback is a heavily tweaked version of Audi’s turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder powerplant shoehorned transversely into the A1’s compact engine bay.

In standard guise, as found in the TT RS and recently introduced RS3, the direct injection unit already delivers a sturdy 200kW – or 64kW more than the most powerful production version of the A1 up to now, the 136kW turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder 1.4TFSI.

But for the A1 clubsport quattro, Audi’s engineers have provided the five-cylinder engine with added boost pressure, a larger intercooler and a redesigned exhaust among other unspecified modifications that see output rise by 170kW to a supercar like 370kW; enough to endow the 1390kg hatchback with a weight-to-weight ratio of 3.8kg/kW. Torque has also risen by a substantial 229lb ft – or 47 per cent - over the standard unit, peaking at 660Nm on a band of revs between 2500 and 5300rpm.

Drive is delivered to all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and a modified version of the TT RS’s multi-plate clutch Haldex style four-wheel drive system – a set-up that is already earmarked to appear on the A1 quattro early next year.

Although Audi is quick to play down the relevance of the A1 clubsport quattro’s engine to the rest of the A1 line-up, there’s no denying its potency in a car of such compact dimensions.

Factory claims put its 0-100km/h time at just 3.7sec, making the Woethersee special faster up the strip than all of Audi’s existing production cars bar the 560bhp naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 powered R8 V10, which boasts an official time of 3.6sec.

Audi also says the extreme hatchback will hit 200km/h in 10.9sec and accelerate from 50 to 75mph in fourth gear in just 2.4sec. About the only disappointing thing about the A1 clubsport quattro’s overall performance is its top speed, which is limited to 250km/h.

While details of the the production version S1 quattro are yet to be revealed, Ingolstadt based sources suggest it will be a significantly milder machine. Nothing’s official just yet but rumours suggest it will run the same 155kW turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine found in a variety of Volkswagen Group offerings, including the Golf GTi.

The A1 clubsport quattro is distinguished by a comprehensively redesigned exterior and matt white paint scheme that combined to provide it with a much more aggressive air than lesser A1 models.

The overall look leans heavily on contemporary world rally championship cars, with a deep front bumper, fenders that are widened by 60mm over those worn by the standard model, a clear coated carbon fibre reinforced plastic roof, large rear wing perched high on the tailgate and a fully functioning diffuser at the rear.

The need for added cooling also sees it receive bonnet mounted ducts and two large air outlets within the trailing edge of the front fenders. Other features include a honeycomb grille insert, unique headlamp and tail lamp graphics and smaller mirror housings than those found on the other A1 models.

Mirroring the move taken with the styling of the quattro concept wheeled out at last year’s Paris motor show, Audi’s design team has also provided the A1 clubsport quattro with elements that lend from the original quattro produced between 1985 and 1991, including new interpretations of its signature wheel arch blisters and classic turbine style alloy wheels.

The A1 clubsport quattro rides on a heavily modified version of the Volkswagen Group’s PQ25 platform featuring adjustable suspension settings, 19-inches wheels shod with 255/30 profile tyres and carbon fibre ceramic discs up front grabbed by purposeful looking six pot calipers.

Inside, the A1 clubsport quattro lives up to its name with a stripped out cabin devoid of the standard A1’s rear seat. In its place is an additional cross member aimed at providing added stiffening and dedicated stowage bins for a pair of helmets.

The rally inspired hatchback also uses front carbon fibre backed seats from the R8 GT, four point harnesses, a flat bottom carbon fibre steering wheel , unique instruments and simple pull straps in the place of the standard A1’s door handles.

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