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Is an S1 the right car for...

night_owl Mar 30, 2018

  1. night_owl

    night_owl New Member

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    This is an idea that struck me completely out of the blue after realizing the S1 is the smallest VAG package that offers Haldex AWD and a EA888 gen 3 2.0 TSI engine. Ok, it's not something hard to realize obviously but what I mean is that I had completely forgotten of the S1's existence for quite a while (it's not a car I see often - if not never - on the road here in Sweden).

    The reasons it has now become very attractive for me are the following:

    1) AWD: not for poor weather traction but for tuning. FWD can barely make good use of 350-400bhp down and even then usability below 100km/h is limited and a certain approach is required overall. With AWD sky (correction: your pocket) is the limit.

    2) It is the most compact and lightweight option compared with every other AWD variant that I can think of? Interior space and boot size are irrelevant as this is going to be my fun car and not our family driver.

    3) I have had mostly VAG cars (and tuned all of them) so with the S1's powertrain I will be feeling pretty much at home. Plus the S1 being an older model, prices are more reasonable now than when new.

    Having ticked the above boxes, the plan is to find a good example and gradually go crazy with it over an extended period of time mainly in terms of engine power and suspension/chassis in a supportive fashion, goal is the 500bhp mark. I am very familiar with the CHH and CJX engines of the Golf GTI and R/S3, their tuning potential and their weaknesses so I almost have all the upgrade solutions in my mind already in terms of tune, turbo and peripherals (assuming those can be applied to the S1). So here is where I would need your help:

    a) Does the S1 feature a CHH engine similar to the MK7 Golf GTI?
    b) Is the Haldex unit the same as the one found in the S3 8V? if not what are the main differences?
    c) Just to confirm as I would otherwise choose one but there is no DSG/S-Tronic option am I right?

    The examples that I have already come across are low/average mileage ones (between 20-30K uk miles). What things I should be looking at replacing or keeping a contingency fund for? I am asking more about S1-specific issues rather than say a clutch upgrade which is known to slip even with a mere 300bhp stage 1 remap on MK7 GTIs.

    What do S1 owners think overall of the car's ability to be a good candidate for a 500bhp AWD pocket rocket? Are any such examples around actually?

    Apologies for the long post and looking forward to your feed-back!
     
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  3. AGee

    AGee Member

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    Engine code, CWZA = S1, CHHA (performance) or CHHB = Mk7 GTI 4/2013. They are similar but they do have differences.

    Current S1 is manual transmission only.

    Good example of a 500hp S1 at http://www.audi-sport.net/xf/threads/dtyme83-s1-thread.253131/page-4


    Several 400Hp+ cars going around but you really need a custom intercooler at stage 3 since there is no off the shelf option large enough yet. Starting around 430-450hp strengthened internals are recommended.

    Common problems: you already know about a definite clutch upgrade contingency which is the main complaint amongst owners, CV joints on earlier models known to be weak and haldex pump serviced (filtered cleaned and oil replaced) recommended at every 20K miles or so.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  4. night_owl

    night_owl New Member

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    Thanks for that it was quite enlightening. So it seems that there are some differences between the S1 and the GTI engine and the R/S3 AWD in that CHH GTI engines are coping just fine up to 450+bhp and CJX R/S3 up to 500+ whereas on the S1 upgrading the internals is recommended... Similar on the drivetrain i read about custom shafts and upgraded joints, no mention of that on any stage 3 Golf R that I know of (even 600bhp ones) so i guess not exactly the same hardware in the end. Then there's the S1 specific issues like the custom intercooler and all in all it's not exactly a "GTI engine with a R AWD" that would hit 500bhp with 4-5 bolt-ons...
     
  5. AGee

    AGee Member

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    Well as you said the CHH Gti engine is coping with ~450bhp so similar to the S1 engine, it’s always going to be an educated guess when they might let go. In full disclosure I don’t have firsthand experience about the issue just what I read from more knowledgeable people.

    Re: CV Joints. I read a good post by Scottien. In short, diff was updated in late 2015 along with the inner cv joints and reportedly no longer chewing up cv joints?

    Custom intercooler definitely needed for 500bhp as the smaller aftermarket versions get heat soaked. A Mk7 golf has much more room to install a larger intercooler, on the S1 the crash bar gets in the way. Typically, custom intercoolers on the S1 are built in between the crash bar. There’s been talk on Facebook of an intercooler suitable for stage 3 that is being developed, whether it actually makes it to market is really up in the air at this stage.

    Remember there’s more to it than just chasing numbers, plenty of owners comment how fun the S1 is to drive compared to the S3 and R.
     
  6. night_owl

    night_owl New Member

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    Good to know all that. I'm sure the S1 drives better than an S3 or even R, but if was for the driving I'd go with a different powertrain I think. For me the S1 would be about the extra and usable power I could squeeze out of it, in a compact package and with a reasonable cost. There are a few other (quite different) options I'm considering as a next car so need to balance the pros and cons of each case, nothing set in stone.
     
  7. golfhappy

    golfhappy Member

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    to answer your question simply is buy one! they're bloody great! i've owned one for over a year and an little ford xr2 and both bring a smile to my face.
     
    Gralegav likes this.

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