Audi fans with a soft spot for hot hatchbacks were sad when their favourite car brand announced nearly a year ago about not planning to develop a new S1 Sportback. Citing high costs, the Four Rings have decided against a new performance-oriented variant of their latest supermini, which means the VW Polo GTI-engined version will remain the top dog in the lineup. Like in the model from Wolfsburg, it offers 197 bhp and 236 pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine.
Should you need a bit more oomph, German tuner ABT has developed an upgrade kit tailored to the A1 and its rather confusing “40 TFSI” official model designation. As you may recall, Audi’s updated nomenclature refers to the “40 TFSI” badge being used on petrol-fuelled models with engine output varying between 167 to 201 bhp.
Gallery: Audi A1 Sportback by ABT
The ABT-modified A1 Sportback you see here has been bumped to a healthy 236 bhp and 266 lb-ft, which has likely improved the 0-62 mph compared to the six and a half seconds needed by the standard car. In addition, top speed might’ve increased a bit over the series 146 mph.
Beyond the power boost, ABT installed a set of suspension springs lowering the premium subcompact hatchback by as much as 30 millimetres to enable a more aggressive stance enhanced by the 18-inch custom wheels featuring a glossy black finish.
Compared to the previous-generation S1 Sportback, ABT’s modified A1 has an extra 8 ponies, but it’s down on torque by 7 lb-ft. The differences in output are not telling the whole story because the old S1 had Audi Sport’s traditional Quattro all-wheel-drive system, whereas the most potent A1 on sale today is still stuck with a FWD layout. Even the Audi A1 Citycarver revealed as entry-level crossover sends its power to the front wheels.
As a final note, the most exciting A1 ever built by Audi was the special-edition A1 Quattro launched at the end of 2011 with a meaty 252 bhp and a production run limited to just 333 cars.