So this is it - the first 8-wide 2020 Speed Champions set that we're reviewing - the historic 1985 Audi Sport quattro S1. At 250 pieces this set obviously comes in heavier than any set we've seen before, with a 25% increase in size, and no accessories in the box apart from the minifigure driver. We're not going to pull our punches - these new 8 wide Speed Champions are amazing and really move the product line on. These sets feel less like novelty LEGO IP licenses and more like actual models of the real life vehicles. While it's a tough call LEGO had to make that these models won't play well at City scale, LEGO addressing that in the City lines makes more sense than holding the Speed Champions line back. We're sure once you've built and held a new 8 wide Speed Champions model you'll be convinced.
It's been a three year absence from the line for Audi since 2016's R8 LMS and R18. Let's start with the box and unique parts for this new 2020 set. The box is significantly bigger than last year's and the format has taken a slight tweak. Unlike previous years, there's no colour change on the Speed Champions logo itself, but the manufacturer brand has moved to the top right of the box, superimposed over the background image. The Audi S1 is pictured on a rally stage here, and there's been some photoshopping to add halos around the lights to give the impression of light. This light photoshopping is on all of the 2020 packaging and it's split opinion - we think it looks good, and hopefully not too many people are expecting light up headlights in the box as a result! On the back of the box there are more forest stage rally pictures of the set alongside a photo of the real-world Audi S1 quattro from 1985.
There are a few new bricks and pieces for the 2020 range, most notably the 8 wide chassis piece and matching windscreen along with a whole new approach to mounting the wheels using a 6 wide axle bracket. Let's cover the windscreen first, on this model the "Audi Team" sunshade is actually a sticker so this is a good set to get hold of the 6-wide windshield without stickers. The wheels have moved from being a axle mounting on the body and a pin on the wheel rather than the other way around on all previous Speed Champions models. The wheel rims and tyres are still the same size, so the hubcaps are interchangeable.
There are 19 stickers in the set and three pieces pre-printed with the red, grey and black Audi sport colours. Thankfully the bonnet is completely pre-printed - it's such a visible piece of the set that having to place that sticker carefully would be a nightmare. The other two printed pieces go on the rear of the car, and I'd have to assume it's because the sticker doesn't take up the whole part that LEGO have gone to the trouble of pre-printing them.
The use of bricks to produce the mix of yellow and white in the bodywork is great, when you have this many more bricks to play with it really shows what the designers can do. When building the model you notice very quickly it's more substantial than anything we've seen before in the line - between 8 wide and the length (which the build instructions quickly form) you're quickly dealing with a much bigger model than before. The stickers are very tolerant of placement on this model, with a few on plates with the same colour background, and generally having a pattern that doesn't mean they look bad if they're a bit crooked. About the only exception to this is the "quattro" text on the rear wheelarches which we'd recommend placing carefully to make sure the model looks its best.
It's not often you end up putting two stickers on a single piece, but the bottom of the rear spoiler actually features a 90 degree bracket with engine vents on the inside and the car's licence plate (IN-NM7, for the curious) on the back of the bracket. There are two sets of hubcaps included with the model, the five spoke and the multi spoke designs we've seen before - both in white, so if you're not a fan of the white on white look you're going to have to go digging in your spare parts box for something else. The white on white scheme for the wheels on this set matches up with the real life S1 quattro well.
The minifigures this time around all come with both hair and a helmet, which is great for people who want to pose the minifigures separately - we saw this first with the 911 Turbo 3.0 set last September and it's good to see the trend continue. We had expected that LEGO might include two minifigures with these sets to highlight the ability to have two minifigs in these new 8 wide vehicles, but it seems not with this Audi set.
There are two banks of spotlights that go on the front of the model which are detachable (the front of the box shows the model without them) which is reminiscent of the Mercedes GT3 high and low downforce front and back ends to give a bit more interactivity to the set. The designers did a great job with the build experience, with the back of the car having an interesting sideways build out for the lights that secures into the back and the tailpipe mounted 3 studs forward just behind the rear wheels in a novel way. Just the rear window area of this model alone layers three different sets of pieces at 90 degrees to the model to create texture and detail - it really is next level.
With a brick width either side used for the flared wheelarches of this model, in photos this Audi Quattro S1 actually doesn't show off the new 8-wide format as much, as the main body of the car still only takes up 6 bricks. It'll be interesting to see what the Huracan and Urus look like on this front, as we'll be reviewing them next. This set retails at CA $24.99/US $19.99/GB £17.99, a 20% increase on previous sets for a 25% bigger model and given the extra detail and quality of the end product, the set is almost a better value for money. It's not true of all the sets in the wave (the Lamborghini set certainly seems to have attracted an expensive licencing cost to be retailing at CA $69.99/US $49.99/GB £54.99). While we're sure some fans will be dissapointed to see the move upmarket, the potential it unlocks for the line with higher part counts and upmarket IP licencing deals is a really positive move after 5 yearly waves of releases.
This model is based on the Audi Sport quattro S1 #5 that raced and won the Rallye San Remo 1985 driven by legendary Porsche test driver Walter Röhrl with Christian Geistdörfer as a co-driver. Audi introduced the Sport quattro S1 for the 1985 model year with over 500 hp as an evolution of the original Sport quattro. The car itself, production #11 (85ZGA905011) with the licence plate IN-NM 7 raced only in the San Remo rally and unfortunately has been disassembled. Only 20 cars were ever built and many suffered a similar fate. The quattro S1 is a legend of Group B rallying.
We’re skipping the ranking section on this review - until we have at least a few waves of these new sets it’s hard to really know what’s possible in the format. As you can no doubt tell, our opinion is this set is a must have and the fact it’s a single car set makes that all the easier - it’s refreshing to have a deep cut, historic vehicle replicated well to make a change from the latest hypercars and the usual brands. Given we have Ferrari and Lamborghini releases in this wave, this could be the sleeper set to have.
While this set continues the trend of Speed Champions Audi sets in a race livery there are some rumours we might see another version of this set later this year as the street car Audi Quattro. How cool would this set look in red or grey with fewer stickers? We'll have to wait and see what the rest of the year brings.