Audi A1 Quattro (2012) first official pictures | CAR Magazine

Audi A1 Quattro (2012) first official pictures

Published: 21 December 2011 Updated: 26 January 2015

This is the Audi A1 Quattro, a 252bhp and four-wheel drive hot hatch that’s as exclusive as an R8 GT Spyder. Just 333 Audi A1 Quattros will ever be built so they’ll be a rare sight on the road – and particularly in Britain as the entire production run is left-hand drive, and Audi UK will import a tiny number only if there’s enough customer interest.

See the new 2018 Audi A1 here

So I probably can’t afford an Audi A1 Quattro, and I might never see one – what am I missing out on?

Let’s talk power. Shoehorned under the bonnet is a direct injection 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, dressed with a turbocharger to produce 252bhp (at 6000rpm) and 258lb ft (from 2500 to 4500rpm). Thankfully the A1 Quattro has Quattro (hence the name), and previews the new four-wheel drive system that Audi is developing for the forthcoming circa-220bhp S1.

With all four wheels pawing at the Tarmac, 0-62mph takes 5.7 seconds, 1.2 seconds quicker than the current 182bhp (and front-wheel drive) A1 1.4 TFSI. Top speed is 152mph and it’ll do 32.8mpg on the combined fuel cycle.

It’s got a double-clutch S-tronic gearbox, hasn’t it?

Actually it hasn’t. The prototype four-wheel drive A1 we tested earlier this year had a six-speed manual, and so does this production A1 Quattro. And enthusiasts should also like the sound of the chassis tweaks: Audi promises this limited-run A1 ‘is much more tautly tuned than the production model’.

Those are changes below the skin though; much more obvious is Glacier White paint (the only colour available) the deep front bumper (that mainly comprises intakes rather than any actual metalwork), red-tinted headlights, sill extensions, twin exhaust pipes, the big rear wing and white alloy wheels. There are 225/35 R18 tyres all round, 312mm front brakes clamped by black callipers, and a three-stage ESP system with a Sport mode and a you’re-on-your-own setting. Inside there’s a red rev counter, and red stitching to contrast with the black Nappa leather.

The first customer cars will be delivered in the second half of 2012, and if you want to own one in the UK, start waving at least £30k in the face of your Audi dealer now.

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By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large