Audi A1 Clubsport hints at 'RS1'

* 498bhp A1 Clubsport at GTI festival * Car is referred to as 'RS1' by Audi * Powered by highly tuned 2.5-litre engine...

Audi A1 Clubsport hints at 'RS1'

The mad 498bhp Audi A1 Clubsport is more than just a showcase to allow the company to grab the headlines at the Worthersee GTI festival in Austria, it seems.

It gives clues as to what a future range-topping high-performance A1 might be like, hints Audi head of design Stefan Sielaff.

'Internally we refer to this car (the Clubsport) as the RS1,' he said.

The Clubsport is powered by a highly tuned version of the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine that, in 332bhp guise, appears in the Audi TT RS and Audi RS3 Sportback.

The same engine has been tuned to deliver more than 400bhp in a special lightweight experimental version of the TT, showing the tuning flexibility possible.

The A1's engine bay doesn't need modified to house the five-cylinder motor, Sielaff says.

The Clubsport's 498bhp engine drives through a six-speed manual gearbox and a four-wheel-drive Quattro drivetrain like the one in other transverse-engined high-performance Audis, as well as Volkswagen 4Motion models. Audi claims a 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds and 0-124mph in less than 11 seconds.

The A1's steel monocoque body has been lightened by 400kg in the Clubsport thanks to extensive use of carbonfibre.

Sielaff says this would be too extreme for mass production, not least because of cost, but reckons that a showroom car could be lightened by 200kg compared with an all-steel model.

The front wings, doors and rear side panels are 60mm wider than those of a standard A1, while the rear seats have been stripped out to make way for racing harnesses and two crash helmets, adorned with the names of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and research and development chief Michael Dick.

The Worthersee festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It started as a gathering of Volkswagen Golf GTI enthusiasts eager to show off their tuned and body-kitted cars, but has now become an annual meeting point for Audi, Seat and Skoda enthusiasts as well as fans of all Volkswagens.