Audi S1 review – impressive and expensive in equal parts - Audi S1 engine and gearbox
The Audi S1 brings speed, premium appeal and impressive build quality to the junior hot hatch segment.
This engine is a 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged unit (larger than the 1.6-litre norm these days) producing 228bhp at 6000rpm and a very strong 273lb ft of torque in a plateau between 1600-3000rpm. A six-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission option available.
The engine is best driven on the torque. It pulls with a level of urgency and muscularity that comes as something of a surprise first time out (though perhaps it shouldn't, given the 2-litre capacity), and although there are no fireworks at the top end, the final 1000rpm remains a useable part of the rev range. Throttle response and urgency in the lower reaches of the rev range are good, too.
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The gearbox is a little long in its throw, but the gate is tightly defined and the shift action is slick. It's certainly more interactive than the dual-clutch option you'd expect of a performance Audi, and therefore something to be celebrated. Like many Volkswagen Group products, a slightly over-servoed feel to the brakes can make heel-and-toe downchanges a little difficult, which does take away some of the joy of the manual 'box.