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Audi S1 Test Mule Spied

Our spy photographer sources have caught the latest Audi test mule on the roads in Europe. Following in the footsteps of the limited edition (333 examples) Audi A1 quattro, what you see here suggests a more common S-car version of the Audi A1.

Likely to be dubbed S1, we’d expect the car won’t be far off in spec from the limited edition A1 quattro… minus the bespoke bodywork and wheels of that car. This time around, we’d expect to see the car going more formulaic in its packaging. Think A1 S-line bodywork with grille, mirrors, etc. featuring S-car spec brightwork. Below is a render we’ve created to envision what we think the production S1 will look like.

That Audi would do an S-car version of the A1 hasn’t exactly been a well-kept secret. First, it’s a logical decision, but one that was confirmed when an A1 S-line bearing a production-looking S-car instrument cluster complete with “S1” badge was spotted on several occasions in the basement garage at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt. The name “S1” though… that’s been cause for debate amongst Audi loyalists.

Back in the 1980s, the “S1” name was unofficially given to the Sport quattro and racing versions of that legend. Calling a slightly hotter version of Audi’s most basic offering the same name as one of the most legendary quattros in Audi lore was bound to ruffle some feathers and stir  up some debate. In as much, with the S1 Audi has found itself in the same nomenclature predicament that BMW did when it came time to build an M version of the 1-series.

When it came time to name the car, BMW shied away from its gullwing supercar and M-car progenitor and settled for a name with lesser consistency. What Audi will do remains to be seen, though that aforementioned cluster spotted at the Audi Forum suggests Ingolstadt is going to put an emphasis on naming consistency and re-use the name.

What’s your take? Should Audi not use the S1 name? If not, what should it use? Drop us a note. We’d be curious to see where our readers stand in this debate. Also, check out more photos of the Audi S1 test mule via our photo gallery to the right.

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