Wonder how the new JCW fares against the all-wheel drive Audi S1? Autocar has some answers.
The resulting cohesion with the running gear’s native tautness is impressive: from spring to mount to body to dashboard to steering wheel to palm, there’s no longer any chink for your admiration to slip through. Instead, with big mirrors outside and excellent iDrive-derived sat-nav inside (courtesy of a £1400 Media Pack), you merrily bound from crawl to dawdle to sprint and back again in almost total small-car contentment.
That leaves little space for the S1 to mount a proper charm offensive, and initially it stumbles even where it ought to automatically triumph. Following the bulletproof function of the Mini, the Audi feels unusually flimsy, most notably through the over-assisted steering and the colossal play of the six-speed manual stick, which is both far too lightweight (finding reverse when you’re looking for first) and too vague (finding the gate when you’re reaching for third). More damningly, the lightness of the S1’s controls doesn’t necessarily translate into ease of use.
The more you drive the Mini, in fact, the more one-dimensional the memory of the Audi becomes, its lifelessness at low speeds a curable condition but only by continually operating at the opposite extreme.
Read the rest at Autocar.