Audi Unveils Audi A1 ClubSport Quattro Concept In Austria
By Carl Malek
For decades, Audi and all-wheel drive have gone together like an automotive peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Indeed, if one is to look at the current Audi lineup, all-wheel drive is available equipment on nearly all of the company’s current offerings with one big exception, the Audi A1. Originally launched as a front wheel drive only offering, the A1 was designed to be Audi’s response to competitors such as the Alfa Romeo Mito and the MINI Cooper. Its success against these competitors, however, has been mixed. Despite the models so-so sales numbers, Audi has been working on making the engine power go to all four of the A1’s wheels and has chosen the 30th annual Wortherseetour in Austria (which is one of the biggest annual gatherings of Volkswagen vehicle owners in the world) to give prospective buyers a sneak peek of what such a car would look like.
Officially known as the Audi A1 clubsport quattro concept, it represents Audi’s efforts at making the A1 the most dynamic car in its class while at the same time providing the world a sneak peek at the production A1 quattro. Powering this little monster is an extensively revised and retuned version of the 2.5 liter TFSI engine which is good for a jaw dropping 500 horsepower and an equally impressive 486 lb ft of torque. This is a radical jump in numbers, especially when compared to the normal 2.5 liter TFSI engine that powers the Audi TT RS and the Audi RS3 Sportback. All of this newfound muscle is channeled to all four wheels through a six speed manual gearbox. Audi claims that the concept can reach 60 miles per hour in a brisk 3.7 seconds and can reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. Normally, braking would be a big concern for a car of this caliber. To help make the car stop just as quickly as it accelerates, Audi gave the car carbon fiber ceramic discs with six piston calipers up front and equally meaty steel discs out back which should stand up to the challenge of stopping this little track missile with flying colors. Along with the engine transplant, Audi engineers have also given the car a diet, utilizing lightweight materials throughout the exterior and interior as well as the featherweight seats also used in the recently announced Audi R8 GT. These measures, along with other small touches, help the car weigh in at 1,390 kg (3,064 pounds).
However, the overall mission of this A1 is not all about muscle and brute performance, Audi engineers have also given the concept much more aggressive styling and exterior enhancements that help it fit its performance oriented mission. Highlights include a carbon fiber roof, front and rear splitters, low profile performance tires, rally inspired exhausts, extensive use of carbon fiber, and a double rear spoiler to help generate optimum downforce.
While the production spec A1 quattro will not be packing the show car’s 500 horsepower turbo under its bonnet, this A1 clubsport quattro concept does provide not only a preview to the production version A1 quattro but it also showcases the full talent and passion of Audi’s team of designers and engineers and it should turn plenty of heads at Wortherseetour.