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    Davy Lewis
    MTM S1 QST's 350bhp uber hot hatch

    / Words Davy Lewis / Photography Aron Vickers / FIRECRACKER
    This 365hp, Misano red S1 not only packs a serious punch, but it’s great fun to drive, too.

    S1 QS Tuning’s 360hp monster

    QS Tuning are one of the UK’s original Audi performance specialists. Set up by Kim Collins over 20 years ago, they have carved an enviable reputation for building a wide range of fast Audis, from original quattros, through to the very latest S and RS models. We’ve featured several of QST’s demo cars including a supercharged RS5 and the latest RS3 (their RS7 will be coming soon). But there’s more to these guys than high-end V8-powered Audis. Like this little S1, for example...

    Let’s get one thing straight from the off – the Audi S1 quattro is a fantastic car. Small, nimble and powered by a potent 2.0 TFSI (the same lump that’s in the S3), it’s a genuinely fun car to drive. Part of the appeal has to be that sweet, six-speed manual gearbox, which helps to lend this modern day Audi a distinctly old-school, hot hatch feel. Don’t get me wrong though – this is still a very refined and well-developed car, but it has a character all of its own. I’ve driven a few of these now and every time – weather stock or tuned – I always return with a smile on my face.

    One thing the S1 has is huge potential. Which is exactly what QST’s Alex Collins set out to prove with his own car.

    As the UK’s main dealer for MTM, the S1 was always going to feature some high-end German upgrades. But rather than fit the well-respected M-Cantronic unit (which effectively piggy-backs the ECU), Alex wanted to show that MTM also do re-mapping. So he organised a road trip over to Germany to allow them to develop their Stage 2 software for his car. “We had great fun on the drive over,” says Alex, “we managed 163mph, three-up, with luggage on the autobahn.” As the S1 already had some hardware upgrades – a Wagner intercooler, uprated inlet and full Scorpion exhaust with custom back section – it was ready for some Stage 2 calibration. The MTM crew spent a long time mapping the S1 and the final numbers are pretty impressive – 365hp and 480Nm.

    Back in the UK, on a short test drive around the Wiltshire countryside, I have to say this S1 feels very lively indeed. The power is delivered with a real punch and second-gear acceleration is pretty ferocious. Nail the throttle and there’s a snarl from the custom Scorpion exhaust as the quattro drive does its thing and the little hatch fires itself up the road. You need to be quick with the gears (it’s a manual remember) but before you know it, you’re making very rapid progress. Soon, we’re hard on the brakes approaching a roundabout, and the bright yellow TT RS stoppers do an admirable job of scrubbing off speed. The fact that every stab of the throttle is accompanied by a crescendo of noise from the exhaust only adds to the sense that you’re driving something rather special. It may be a tad too loud for some, but there’s no doubt that at full chat, it sounds plain evil.

    You may be surprised to learn that a stock clutch is still being used, although for how long, no one knows. Factory S1 units are known to give up, even on unmodified examples, so it seems like this is on borrowed time. When it does go, it’ll be replaced with something far more able to stand up to spirited launches and the increased torque now available.

    The interior of this S1 is very special indeed. It may look like an Audi exclusive option, but it’s actually a bespoke retrim from Plush Automotive. The front and rear seats, plus door cards are finished in Ferrari tan leather, which gives the cabin a supercar feel.

    The exterior of this fiery little S1 has been kept nice and OEM. The Misano red paint has been lovingly prepared and radiates a deep, glossy shine. Some discreet MTM badges hint that this may be more than a stock car, and of course the large, yellow TT RS calipers are easy to spot, tucked behind the MTM alloys.

    Since the photoshoot, Alex has decided that air-ride is not really for him. As this car gets driven hard, he’ll soon be swapping the bags for a set of high-end coilovers. He also has new wheels and is looking at bigger turbos. Watch this space....

    Above: S1 maybe small but it packs a real punch.
    Below: Plush Automotive interior is stunning in Ferrari tan leather.
    Above: MTM alloys and TT RS brakes.
    Above: TT RS brakes feature custom carriers.
    Above: Scorpion exhaust.
    Right: Love a bit of light painting.

    “The power just builds and it keeps pulling until the redline”
    “I had 163mph with three up and luggage on the autobahn...”

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION / #Audi-S1-Quattro / #Audi-A1-Quattro / #Audi-A1 / #Audi-S1 / #Audi-S1-Quattro-MTM / #MTM / #Audi / #Audi-S1-Quattro-QS-Tuning / #QS-Tuning / #Audi-S1-QS-Tuning / #Audi-A1-Type-8X / #Audi-A1-8X / #Audi-S1-Type-8X / #Audi-8X

    Engine 2.0 TFSI, #MTM-Stage-2 re-map, #Wagner front mount intercooler, #MK-Performance intake pipe, #ITG filter, #Scorpion de-cat exhaust with custom rear section

    Power 365hp and 480Nm (tested on MTM’s dyno)

    Transmission 6-speed manual, stock clutch (for now!)

    Brakes TT RS front brakes with Ferrari yellow calipers, custom carriers, re-drilled to 5x100

    Suspension HP Drivetech with Bilstein struts, Air Lift Performance management

    Wheels 8x18in MTM alloys with 225/35 Bridgestone Potenza

    Interior Full re-rim in Ferrari tan leather, #Recaro CS front seats, charcoal Alcantara seat backs, parcel shelf and door cars matched, S1 quattro gearknob

    Exterior 3-door S1 quattro in Misano red, black pillars, MTM badges

    Contacts & thanks Kim, Mike and Simon at QS Tuning, Luke and the crew at Plush Automotive, everyone at MTM
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    FACE OFF! Group B icon Vs. rallycross monster. S1 E2VS1 EKS RX. Pics courtesy

    These two S1s may have been created 35 years apart but they share a surprising amount of DNA… Face off – S1 E2 versus S1 EKS RX.

    Back in the halcyon days of rallying, there was only one car for me – the #Audi S1 E2. This Group B machine had it all: extreme looks, savage performance and the kind of sound track that could wake the dead. The fact it was a real handful to drive just added to the legend. It’s the car that Walther Röhrl drove to victory in the gruelling Pikes Peak event, complete with its be-winged aero battle armour. A fierce, fire breathing machine that emitted an off-note warble, punctuated by loud bangs from the anti-lag system. As a snapshot of the 80s, it captured the excess perfectly.

    With the banning of Group B, the S1 E2, along with many other legendary cars such as the 205 T16 and Lancia 037 were left with nowhere to go. Victims of their own success you might say. At the time, many commentators said that the world would never see the likes of these crazy machines again.
    But they were wrong.

    In 2014, we got word of a new generation of S1 that would be competing in the World Rallycross series. Based (loosely) on the S1 road car, it promised over 500bhp and was designed and built to be flung around Rallycross courses all over Europe. It is, in effect, the spiritual successor to the original S1.

    Technology has moved on significantly over the last 35 years. From turbo design, featuring ultra responsive variable vein technology, to suspension which is able to keep a car planted and stable when it lands after a big jump, there’s no doubt that the new S1 would destroy an original in a head-to-head race. But this isn’t about asking which is better, or faster; it’s about appreciating both cars and looking at how the S1 has evolved for the modern age.

    The original S1 was a thing of compromise. While other teams were building well balanced, mid-engined machines that were right on the pace, the Audi quattro was big and nose heavy. The Short Sport was born to try and quell that issue and reduce some weight. A lighter alloy block helped, as did the more upright windscreen to reduce glare from the sun. The vast cooling system was moved to the rear, to get more weight off the front, and top wheelmen Stiq Blomqvist and Walter Röhrl were tasked with piloting the thing. The addition of a lockable diff meant the rear could be more easily brought into play, while towards the end of its career, the S1 E2 received a primitive version of what we know today as a DSG transmission. Even so, the S1 was a very analogue beast. You had to really drive the thing and have a full understanding of its shortcomings. Walter Röhrl said it was one of his favourite cars of all time – citing the challenge of driving it on the limit as one of the main reasons. Here was a car that still had three pedals, a regular manual gearbox and even featured steel body panels.

    The S1 EKS RX is a very different machine to the S1 E2. For starters it was designed and built with a specific purpose in mind – the Rallycross series. Unlike the S1 E2, it wasn’t an adapted version of an existing car, so it had a clear brief. With modern CAD, hightech composite materials, plus access to the latest technology in braking, suspension and engines, this was always going to be a ruthlessly efficient machine.

    Designed to compete in short, high intensity events, the S1 EKS didn’t need the longevity required of a rally car. They do however need to make a good start, which is where the power and suspension all comes together. Being able to lay down a savage launch and get ahead of the pack is critical to success in this event. The suspension in particular takes a lot of development as it has to cope with tarmac and gravel – the original S1 would have been set up according to the rally it was competing in.

    There’s a six-speed sequential box with a mechanical shifter for lightening fast shifts. The 2.0 turbo engine creates over 560hp and is capable of taking the S1 from rest to 60mph in just 2secs – on a dirt track. Last year, S1 EKS RX lead driver, Mattias Ekström was joined by Röhrl, who drove the S1 EKS. He is said to have remarked on the modern S1’s unbelievable power, lightness as well as telepathic handling and immediate gear shifts. Ekström commented that Röhrl approached some corners faster than he did!

    At the time of writing, the S1 EKS has not had the success that the team has hoped for. Having said that, fifth in the team standings and sixth for Ekström in the drivers’ championship offers something to build on. As to the question, which of these machines is best? Well, clearly, the modern S1, dripping with the latest in race car technology is the more capable and competitive car. But, I’d bet my last Jelly Baby, that almost all of you reading this, like me, would take the original S1 E2.

    Above: Bumper to bumper action. Below: Rally cars and a road going S1.

    QUICK SPECS #Audi-S1-EKS-RX-quattro / #Audi-S1 / #Audi /
    Year: #2015
    Category: Supercar
    Engine: 2.0 straight-four turbo
    Transmission: 4WD, 6-speed sequential box
    Power: 560hp
    0-60mph: 1.9sec
    Chassis: Reinforced steel body (based on S1)
    Suspension: MacPherson struts, Ohlins dampers
    Brakes: 4-pot calipers with Pagid RS pads
    Wheels: 17in OZ

    TECH DATA #Audi-S1-E2-Quattro / #Audi-S1-E2 / #Audi-S1 / #Audi-Quattro / #Quattro
    Year: #1985
    Category: #Group-B
    Engine: 2.1 five-cylinder turbo
    Transmission: 4WD, synchronised 6-speed manual
    Power: 500hp
    0-60mph: 3sec
    Chassis: Self supporting steel body with sheet steel parts
    Suspension: MacPherson struts with lower wishbone, Boge twin tube spring strut inserts
    Brakes: Two circuit hydraulic system
    Wheels: 16in


    Back in the 1980s, manufacturers had to satisfy strict rules of homologation. To prevent rally teams from producing multi-million pound specials, all competition cars had to be part of a production run of at least 200 road going models for Group B. Consequently, manufacturers created road versions of cars like the Sport quattro – cars that today are worth a small fortune. Sadly, the rules have changed, so manufacturers no longer need to make road going models. Although cars like the S1 EKS must still be loosely based – i.e resemble their production counterparts. They may look similar, but with high-tech spaceframed construction, complex composite bodies and the latest in race car engine technology, they are much further away from the road car than their 80s sibblings were.

    Below: “The S1 E2 is ace!”

    Above: Evolution of the S1...

    “Group B grunt versus modern Rallycross technology”
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    AirREX #UK Audi A1/S1 high-performance air suspension kit / #Audi-A1 / #Audi-S1 / #Audi / #Audi-A1-AirREX / #2016 / #AirREX /

    AirREX now has a fully comprehensive and fully reversible air-suspension kit for almost all variants of the Audi A1 and S1.

    This new kit offers a near ‘plug and play’ fitment for enthusiasts who want a fully adjustable air-ride kit, without the usual hassles that go with custom installs. Ideal for UK roads, these kits are tough, reliable and durable – offering great ride quality with the ability to change the ride height at will.

    As with all AirREX digital air management systems, the Audi A1/S1 kit is supplied fully assembled and leak-tested from the factory, saving up to 10 hours installation time compared to rival systems. All the primary control components – valve block, compressor, air tank and purge valve – are contained in a composite wood casing with a smoked acrylic window. Once this case has been secured in position, two simple electrical connections (power and earth) and four ‘plug and play’ plumbing connections (one to each air spring) complete the installation, which can be completed in just one full working day compared to several for a custom build. The AirREX system is fully digital, wireless in operation and minutely adjustable from an intuitive, hand-held commander unit, with each corner controlled either individually, in pairs, or collectively. Ride heights can be configured at pre-set levels to allow for perfect geometry to be achieved, while precise air spring pressures can be monitored from the commander unit’s backlit TFT LCD screen.

    The electronic stability of AirREX systems is evidenced by the use of 20A fuses within the power feed – half that normally found in competitor systems – which means that AirREX systems are less likely to overload the electronics of the host vehicle.

    In addition to minute ride-height adjustment, the well-engineered AirREX struts offer adjustable damping force for precise control of handling and ride quality. The struts adopt double convoluted bellows and twin-ply rubber construction for improved control and strength over traditional sleeved bags.

    Priced at £3,332.50 + VAT, the AirREX kit isn’t the cheapest on the market but when you factor in the reduced labour charges compared to the vast majority of its competitors, plus the integrity of factory-assembled hardware, then the true value becomes readily apparent. Visit or call 01933 685 840 for more information.
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    MAXIMUM ATTACK! KW’s S1 Clubsport takes on the Nürburgring / #Audi-A1 / #Audi-S1 / #Audi /
    COVER STORY KW’s S1 Clubsport at the #Nürburgring

    CLUB CLASSIC Words Davy Lewis Photography Mark Riccioni

    KW Automotive tuned this 2015 #Audi-S1-Quattro to show what can be achieved with their track day-focused Clubsport coilover system.

    The #Nürburgring #Nordschleife is an unforgiving beast. Over 13 miles of unforgiving tarmac that snakes its way through the verdant Eifel forest; it really does take no prisoners. A lap that begins in sunlight may turn to rain, fog or even snow by the time you’re halfway around. It is not a place for the faint-hearted. But therein lies its appeal.

    The very nature of this ultimate ‘toll road’ means it attracts many thousands of visitors. From seasoned drivers keen to enjoy every twist and turn as they chase a Bridge to Gantry time; to beginners taking it steady, happy just to be at this legendary circuit; its appeal is enduring.

    The brutal nature of the Nordschleife means that is has become the place to test cars. It’s not surprising, then, that manufacturers queue up to test their top secret new models here. You can see the heavily disguised mules being flung around by expert test drivers – if a car can perform well in this hostile environment, it will perform well anywhere.

    It’s for this very reason that KW Automotive, one of the world’s most respected suspension manufacturers has a base here. Consequently, the UK arm of the business run by MD, Richard Good, spends a lot of time out here. So when their latest project S1 needed a full shakedown, the KW team headed to the Ring.

    The car itself was purchased with a plan already in mind. “We wanted something to showcase the KW Clubsport range of coilovers,” says MD, Richard. “We’ve shown what our Variant 2 and 3 kits can do, but not really pushed the Clubsport range,” he adds. “Part of the challenge is making people aware of the differences between V3 and Clubsport. If you buy an S3 for example, a lot of people want to add some power, an exhaust and lower it. They want something that’s good for daily use and the occasional track outing. The Variant 3 is perfect for this,” he continues. “But, as soon as you get more serious; take out some weight; add semi-slicks etc, the Variant 3 is a bit soft.”

    After two years adapting Variant 3 kits for those that wanted firmer spring rates for track days, KW decided to create the Clubsport solution – specifically tailored to the track enthusiast who demands more. The challenge was getting the message across that the Clubsport kit is a more track-focused solution, but not at the expense of on-road comfort. And so project S1 was born.

    “We thought about a Porsche,” smiles Richard, “but they’re fast out of the box, so by adding our suspension, we’d just be making a fast car even faster.” The Audi on the other hand offered something else. “The S1 is okay in stock form but, for me, it’s a little boring,” admits Richard. Not to say that the baby quattro is a bad car. Far from it. I’ve driven several, including Revo’s 340bhp tuned example and it’s one of the most fun Audis I’ve ever driven. But, there’s the point – it’s been tuned. In standard trim they are a little safe; there’s so much more to be had.

    “We wanted to make the S1 more aggressive,” states Richard. If it was to showcase the Clubsport coilovers, it had to have the full Clubsport package in the same vein as the mighty Porsche GT3 RS – that meant bucket seats, a half-cage and, of course, semi-slicks. With a virgin white S1 quattro delivered, work began on upgrading it.

    As you’d expect, the first thing to do was get it to KW’s local track, Brands Hatch, to give it a shakedown. After all, it’s hard to measure improvement if you don’t have a stock car to compare it with. KW’s resident test driver, Marc Kemp, was drafted in to put the little Audi through its paces. As a professional instructor and Time Attack driver, he’s also a Ring veteran with well over 1000 laps under his belt. It’s safe to say the man can pedal a bit.

    Unsurprisingly for a stock road car, the limits were soon reached and it was clear that huge improvements could be made with suspension upgrades (a tendency to under steer and a lack of willingness to turn in being the main issues.)

    The S1 was rolled into KW’s workshop to have the Clubsport kit fitted up. The coilovers are fully adjustable for height, plus bump and rebound, and can be spec’d with adjustable top mounts for that extra fine tuning of the suspension geometry – essential to create a capable track car. This would allow the toe and castor to be tweaked for that crisp and predictable turn in.

    “With the first test Clubsport kit fitted, I thought it felt great,” comments Richard, but test driver Marc spotted a couple of flaws at Brands Hatch. “Coming into a dip, the rear springs compressed so much that the rear wheel was in the arch – it wasn’t stiff enough under extreme conditions.” KW decided they needed to find a better balance. “We also found that if the rear end squats to a certain point, it trips a sensor and the ECU puts the car into limp mode – not what you want on track!” he laughs. “It’s things like this that you can only find out by testing things properly on track.” With a list of improvements noted, Richard, Marc and the team headed out to the Nürburgring. The first stop was KW’s partners, Raeder Motorsport. Here technician, Christoph, was tasked with carrying out the adjustments they wanted, which included firmer front and rear spring rates, plus adjustments to the toe, castor and a full corner weight set-up. All of this took a full day; then it was time to test it on track.

    With over 1000 laps behind him, Marc Kemp knows every inch of the Nordschleife and he wasted no time in putting the S1 through it paces. “We joined an RMA track day,” recalls Richard, “it was full of high-end cars with well-heeled owners, and they were all amazed by the little Audi,” he smiles. “We had people coming over to say how impressed they were and wanting to find out what we’d done to the suspension.” The fact Marc was able to leave cars with much more power behind in the turns, demonstrated how well set up it had been. “They caught up with us on the straights, but once into the turns, we could brake later and turn in much harder; leaving them behind again.”

    The revisions that had been suggested at Brands Hatch had now been fully proven on the most demanding track in the world. Of course, with the suspension set-up nailed, the rest of the car couldn’t be left stock. Cobra supplied a bespoke set of their latest seats, complete with KW logos and custom sub frames, to get them sitting nice and low (when your test driver is 6ft 5in, things like this matter!) The rear seats have been trimmed to match and Cobra went the extra mile by treating the gear and hand brake gaiters, together with the door cards to Alcantara with contrasting red stitching. It really does look like an OEM factory special. The final interior touch is a half-roll cage. It was designed and fitted by German company, Wiechers, who specialise in prototype cars; in fact they built the roll cage fitted to Audi’s very own TT Clubsport Turbo (featured in AT issue 006). It uses the seatbelt mounting points to create a truly bolt-in affair that can be easily removed. Although this S1 is very much about showcasing what can be achieved with the Clubsport suspension, there was no way the engine was going to be left stock. The 2.0 TFSI unit kicks out a healthy 228bhp from standard, but there’s a lot more to be had with some simple upgrades.

    Revo were chosen to supply a custom map, and there’s a full Scorpion exhaust fitted. The turbo back exhaust includes a sports cat and some purposeful looking quad oval tailpipes. Together with a Revo carbon air intake, power is around 320bhp with over 360lb/ ft of torque. That may not sound huge, but bear in mind this is in an extremely well set-up car. The engine and chassis upgrades combine to create a devastatingly capable package on the road or on track days. As race instructor Marc Kemp says, “I was very surprised; I didn’t expect it to do what it did. You [Richard] must be very pleased with that.”

    And there we have it. KW’s S1 quattro Clubsport is a little monster. Look out for it at track events this year and see it at our new indoor event, #VAG Tuner Expo on 25 October.

    KW’S PARTNERS KW would like to say a big thank you to all their industry partners that helped to create this project: Cobra Revo HEL Toyo Scorpion Wiechers Raeder Motorsport OZ Wheels RMA Track Days

    Above: Test driver Marc Kemp rocking some cool shades..

    SPECIFICATION #2015 #Audi-S1-Quattro-Clubsport

    Engine 2.0 TFSI, Revo custom ECU software, #Scorpion turbo back exhaust system with quad oval tailpipes and sports cat, #Revo carbon fibre intake
    Power 320bhp and 360lb/ft
    Transmission 6-speed manual, stock clutch (for now)
    Brakes OEM discs with Pagid RS Yellow pads, HEL lines, Castrol race fluid
    Suspension #KW-Clubsport coilovers with adjustable top mounts, geometry fully setup and corner weighted by #Raeder-Motorsport
    Wheels and Tyres White #OZ multi-spoke alloys in 8x17in with Toyo R888 semi-slick tyres
    Exterior 3-door Audi S1 quattro in Ibis white with #KW logos
    Interior Bespoke Cobra bucket seats with harnesses, rear seats trimmed to match, Wiechers custom half roll cage, Alcantara door cards and gear/handbrake gaiters with red stitching
    Tuning contacts KW Automotive
    Thanks to Ben and Mark at SceneMedia for all their help with the feature


    KW Clubsport coilovers have been designed to offer race car technology for the road and track day use. Think of the Variant 3 for the average guy with a mildly tuned Audi and Clubsport for someone that intends to drive harder and use their car more on track; but the Clubsport package still offers comfort and compliance for the road. There are a multitude of settings and adjustments available with the 2-way Clubsport – 16 clicks of rebound and 12 clicks of bump, so the perfect set up can be achieved according to your driving style. If you’re reducing the weight or adding different wheels and tyres, it allows a bespoke set up to be achieved. Adjustable top mounts are available for even more fine tuning of the castor and camber (dependant on model) to dial in that turn in. KW Clubsport is a very well made and easy to adjust system.

    Far left: The KW test base left: Marc Kemp puts the S1 through it paces


    The Ring is the most infamous track on earth. This 13+mile test of car and driver is unique in that it’s the longest circuit in the world, as well as technically a public toll road. You pay your entrance fee, then off you go for your lap.

    The ageing surface and undulating geography is key to its character. Unlike glass-smooth modern race tracks, the Ring can and does catch people out. It’s for this reason that companies such as KW have test bases here, to put their products through rigorous testing. If something performs well here, it’ll perform well anywhere.

    “We wanted to make the S1 more aggressive”
    ‏ — at Nordschleife, 68642 Bürstadt, Germany
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