First drive of the Audi A1 Quattro prototype

Reflecting on 30 years of Quattro is all well and good, however participants in the recent Audi Fascination Quattro event in Mt Tremblant Quebec were given a peak into the future.

The A1 Quattro prototype being driven for the first time in Quebec

Audi brought over 2 testing prototypes for the world premiere of the upcoming A1 Quattro Sub-Compact. As prototypes, it was made clear these were essentially hand-built cars, (read extremely expensive) and during our test drives we we to be accompanied by a Audi representative who would be there more to safeguard these one off cars than anything else.
The A1 Quattro vehicles were equipped with 1.4L turbocharged gasoline engines and coupled to manual transmissions. The 1.4T engine produces 122HP in a front wheel drive A1 but this unit felt somewhat peppier.
The Quattro system on the A1 mimics the systems found in the A3 and TT coupe. Traction is shared out with a front wheel bias until slippage is detected and then power is shuttled to the rear wheels.
The vehicles we drove were equipped with winter tires and flat studs as we were driving on a test track that had been watered for a week prior to our arrival. Yes, we were driving on sheer ice. The studs in fact were flat topped units which offer a more neutral effect on traction but instead allowed the ice to remain textured as opposed to glazing when rubber tires spun over them.

The Quattro system, which is still being tweaked on this platform handled the small ice covered rally course with the surefooted stability you would expect of any vehicle carrying a Quattro logo. Whenever physical traction was lost the onboard electronic stability control intervened and kept the premium compact rolling along.
Truth be told this was my first drive in an A1 of any sort and this experience left me saddened. It is highly unlikely can make a business case for the A1 at present. Buyers on this side of the Atlantic will need to break the association of compact and inexpensive before a jewel of this calibre can makes its way to these shores.