Vijay Pattni21 December 2011

Audi unleashes 252bhp A1 Quattro

Christmas has come early, Internet: meet the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive mega-hatch

Audi A1 Quattro

This is faster than a JCW Mini. It's faster than the Corsa VXR Nürburgring. It's also faster than a Ford Focus ST and nudges the VW Golf R for pace. This is the turbocharged, four-wheel-drive Audi A1 Quattro. Merry Christmas.

Like a mini Walter Rohrl-shaped gift to the world, Audi has announced plans to produce 333 left-hand-drive models of this, the fastest production A1 ever built.

It's destined for mainland Europe for now, but Audi tells us positive customer reaction to this bonkers little thing could see it reach our potholed shores. And that's an intriguing prospect, because it packs 252bhp from a turbocharged, 2.0-litre TFSI unit and 258lb ft of torque from between 2,500rpm and 4,500rpm. All the Audi's horses and torques help propel it from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 152mph. That's really quick.

Gallery: see pics of the new Audi A1 Quattro

It's also the first production A1 to get the Quattro system - a system we tested in a prototype mule way back last year. As in that car, traction comes from an electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch rotating in an oil bath.

Which basically means its front wheel drive for normal driving, but sends power to the rear "in just a few milliseconds" if you start to Stiggify it. And there's an electronic diff that brakes whichever wheel is losing grip, helping to keep you out of the nearest hedge/tree/sofa warehouse.

As we told you last year when we drove the prototype on ice - which was good actually - we feared Quattro on an A1 might have been overkill, had Audi not sufficiently ramped up the power. Consider this a sufficient ramp up in power, then.

The 333 cars are slightly longer than the standard A1, and get the full complement of Audi equipment: S sports seats, quattro badges, dashes of aluminium, Infotainment gubbins, a 465-watt speaker system... you get the picture.

No word on price, but if it does ever reach the UK, expect it to be significantly more expensive than the current range topper, the £21,270 1.4 TFSI S Line.

So, does this turbocharged, four-wheel-drive pocket rocket stroke the parts of your brain responsible for coherent speech patterns, or are you left feeling a bit cold? Speak!

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