Scoop: more Audi A1 quattros

Scoop: more Audi A1 quattros

Published on February 18, 2012

Three hundred and thirty three. That's how many A1 quattros Audi will build. That's not including this rather innocuous red example we spotted at the A1 quattro's launch. It's incomprehensible that Audi has spent all that time and effort squeezing a four-wheel drive transmission into its smallest model for such a tiny production run. And it has admitted as much. 

Sources claim that four quattro-equipped A1s were built over two years ago for appraisal by management. Unlike this red A1, and the 333 production examples, the development cars borrowed their engines from the Volkswagen Polo - though nobody would tell us which specific units.

The A1 quattro's platform requires extensive modification for the four-wheel drive system to be squeezed in. TTS-derived multi-link rear suspension features different mounting points and the spare wheel well has been lost to house the rear differential. Drive to the rear wheels also demands a new, notched fuel tank, it retaining the same 45-litre capacity of the standard car's.

All this additional work has required crash testing, underlining the likelihood that the A1 quattro will spin off a number of models in time. Audi wouldn't be pushed as to which direction it's going with the car, but the 2.0-litre TFSI engine is in a relatively tame state of tune with 256hp, leaving an opportunity for more powerful S and RS derivatives.

At the launch a quick peak under the red A1 (pictured) revealed a quattro drivetrain. An Audi representative claimed it featured the same specification as the A1 quattro despite its more demure appearance. Us? We rather like the idea of a Sportback derived model packing a 2.0 TDI unit and an Audi-equipped roof box for skis to replace all those Panda 4x4s in ski resorts. Amusingly, so did Audi's engineers when we suggested it to them...