GTI comparison: Audi S1, SEAT Ibiza Cupra, MINI Cooper S, Peugeot 208 GTI, tested (with video)


All motor lovers are motivated to think about the weekend and go out to enjoy our favorite sports. But unfortunately many times your "favorite" sports car is not the one you can afford, nor the one you can combine with your real life. To alleviate these "problems" we have again put together four other cars that meet realistic requirements: a minimum of sporty sensations, the possibility of being used daily and an affordable sale price.

Almost all brands have in their range a utility that offers, at least, high performance. A few months ago we joined the Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Ford Fiesta ST, Skoda Fabia RS and MINI Countryman JCW. This time we bring you to Audi S1, SEAT Ibiza Cupra, MINI Cooper S and Peugeot 208 GTILet's see what these cars hide behind their aerodynamic kits and large wheels.

Audi S1, the bully of the class

Audi S1

What does this car paint here? The Audi S1 el single with all-wheel drive and also its 231 hp engine takes no less than 51 hp from the most modest engine candidate (Ibiza Cupra). Their price It also plays in another league with a base price of around 34.000 euros. It is evident that we are facing the bully of the class, although in this case he has not repeated the year, since he is one of the last to arrive.

El Audi S1 ​​just “flies” compared to the other 3 cars in this comparison, to the point that after getting off it, the rest of the engines seem to have no thrust. But not only because of the difference in horsepower or the weight/power ratio (which, when included in these figures, is not that great either), but also because thanks to the Quattro traction we can go full throttle in almost any situation without the dreaded blinking of the yellow warning light limiting our power, indicating that the tires have lost traction and that we should slow down. with this car no need to be fine not restrained to drive fast, just stomp unceremoniously and steer with the steering wheel. But… remember to stop! I think I have already warned that this car can go a lot, luckily the brake equipment is up to the task and stands up to rough treatment.

Audi S1

This is the reason why we have admitted the small Audi S1 ​​in our comparison, because it is extremely fast, effective and also offers a level of comfort very high for a car of these characteristics. Its engine has an acceptable consumption at a "normal" rate, the suspension is not at all dry and the touch of the controls does not tire the driver on a day-to-day basis.

In the city and ring roads it rolls comfortably and smoothly... but as soon as you free it from the annoying surrounding traffic, the S1 becomes a missile with a lot of poise on fast roads and remarkable efficiency on slow curvy roads, helped by a rear that helps to round turns if we look for it. The bucket seats (optional for 730 euros) that are so comfortable in the city hug our body when we move at a frenetic pace. The Audi "S" tend to be very powerful, fast and quite gentrified cars... on the other hand, this Audi S1 ​​has a much more agile and nervous touch, being a car even abrupt with the ESP disconnected.

Audi S1

With this description it is enough to proclaim him the winner of our comparison... except because it has the smallest rear seats of all and because Audi asks us for a whopping 34.000 euros, shooting up to more than 43.000 euros adding all the extra equipment of our unit (baquettes, leather, exterior and interior S package, browser etc)

SEAT Ibiza Cupra, the friendly of the group


I don't know why, but the ibiza cupra always has aroused my sympathy over the years... mine and that of thousands of drivers who have opted for this model when putting a “pickle” in your life. The strengths of the Ibiza are clear: youthful aesthetics, an engine with sufficient power and the theoretical confidence that comes from having the same mechanics as other cars in the VAG group. If we add to this an adjusted starting price… We already have a best seller!

In practice it is a balanced car, with a reasonably comfortable suspension for everyday use, a powerful engine and a great 7-speed DSG gearbox that makes life easier both in everyday use and when riding fast. We can also use it in manual mode through lever touches and with the steering wheel paddles, all very racing. This change also masks the fact that the engine does not have very strong basses or a powerful stretch, but by being able to always take it in its best zone of use, the result is that it moves very well... and how it sounds! Although its sound may be inconspicuous to pedestrians, from the driver's seat the engine bellows almost as if Let's drive a lion from the cup, something that is always appreciated in this gray life surrounded by sordid Diesel engines.


The Cupra sports a sporty-looking body, although it is not very muscular. They have equipped it with touches of dubious good taste, such as the trapezoidal central exhaust, which would be beautiful if it were not noticeable from a league away that it is fake. Would it have cost so much to finish off this detail decently? When you open the door your interior is much more discreet, even too much to be the most "racing" finish of the model, although at least it is well built despite the fact that it does not show top quality materials either. It also has 5 quite usable seats for four people (those in the back who don't play basketball, please) and a decent trunk.

The Ibiza Cupra underway prompts to pick up the pace since its seats hold enough, the engine pushes, it sounds like vice, the change is a delight and the suspension does not break our backs in every pothole. But beware, it is a car that requires quite a bit of skill to roll really fast, since your noble chassis it can understeer fairly easily, even though the XDS electronic differential works very well. For this reason, if we try to beat the copper in a twisty section, we must be very fine with the direction and having your hands perfectly synchronized with your right foot, especially so as not to mess it up when exiting corners and being punished by an ESP that leaves you stuck. Once you get the hang of it, the Cupra allows many joys... although we will have to treat the brakes with a head since they can get to fatigue after several braking in a row. Luckily they warn in advance that they are beginning to falter and it is enough to slow down in time.


Returning to the mundane everyday life, it should be noted that the 1.4 TSI engine of the SEAT Ibiza Cupra can have a ridiculous consumption at normal rate, something that is always appreciated.

MINI Cooper S, the icon of always but bigger and better


This car does not need a cover letter, in fact a large part of its market is people who you want to buy a MINI… period. It brings to mind the opinion that we may have of the car and much less if the car can assume its family needs.

But the people who do care about those "little details" are in luck because we are facing the MINI of always but with some larger rear seats and a trunk that has gone from “ridiculous” to just “small”. The rest maintains the same essence... design with an inimitable character, high-quality interiors, the possibility of customization, endless lists of equipment... and of course a hard-to-match sporty feel. I like it!


El MINI Cooper S perfectly fits the needs of the sensation-seeking driver. The brand has insisted ad nauseam on getting that from the “Go Kart feeling” and for this it has installed very low seats, direct steering, table-type suspension and a hard touch of all controls. The engine on this occasion is a powerful 2.0-liter turbo accompanied by automatic 6-speed (also available in manual). This propellant moves the MINI frankly well, with a quite interesting kick at mid-range and a stretch that ends somewhat soon. The automatic transmission adapts well to our thoughts, being able to roll smoothly in the city if we so require or giving us brutal pushes when changing thoroughly in sections of curves, thus contributing to the sports atmosphere. The only downside that I draw is that even in manual mode and with the cams, ever think for yourself and it goes up gears without being asked (in acceleration) or resists lowering them (in the rush of braking). Once you get used to its operating logic, it rarely plays games with you.

I can't ignore that the suspension is extremely dry and insufferable in the city, transmitting every irregularity of the ground to the back of the occupants. You have to be very clear when you buy this car that you are not going to roll on a pool of oil and that the road conditions by which you move will influence your daily good (or bad) mood. On the other hand, this suspension makes the MINI a addictive toy when it comes to enjoying pure and simple driving. Precise steering that transmits well the available grip under the wheels, an agile and solid front axle, a rear axle that responds to our actions on the accelerator and steering wheel... what more do you want? I do not forget its 192 hp engine that catapults the car in any situation, emitting a good symphony through the exhaust. Also enjoy a cornering very fast…so much so that in my opinion most homeowners won't come anywhere near its limits. One last detail… you can choose the car with three suspensions: normal, sports and adaptive electronics. I would definitely take the last one for 550 euros.


By driving feel the MINI It would be the fair winner of our comparison… and that there will still be a more powerful and theoretically sportier JCW version. But before going through the dealership, it's time to do the numbers and we see that pulling the long list of optional equipment the MINI Cooper S gets into some scary figures… a base price of 26.000 euros for the manual version (27.700 euros for the automatic) and about 36.000 euros for the tested version. That is a lot of money but… what did you expect? It is a MINI and this charm must be paid for.

Peugeot 208 GTI, a somewhat decaffeinated myth

Peugeot-208-GTI (5)

El Peugeot GTI 208 It has aroused a strange feeling in me. I'll try to explain it: on the one hand, it's a car that I like (but it has a very discreet aesthetic), with a cozy sporty interior, despite its ridiculously small steering wheel and those somewhat Las Tunas colors and convincing driving dynamics even though the rear axle is welded to the asphalt, being impossible to give you joy. With this cocktail of contradictions I got off the 208 GTI made a mess. But… do I like it or don't I like it? I'm not sure, let's sort the ideas.

For me the main attraction of the 208 GTI is its ease of driving: It is a noble car, with predictable reactions that will never put you in a bind. Plus it is comfortable, with a fairly "sweet" suspension and a soft touch pulling all the controls, especially the steering wheel. No drive mode adjustments, no optional adjustable suspension, no oversized brakes… car is being sold and driven as-is with no options or adjustments. In fact, there are hardly any extras that can be ordered since almost everything you can have has it as standard.

Peugeot GTI 208

I'm going to take it as an advantage... a car that lacks "artifice", what we see is what there is. In practice the Peugeot 208 GTI does not transmit pure sports sensations, so it is not even remotely the "inheritance of the 205 GTI" as the brand says. But on the other hand the reality is that it is incredibly fast and easy to drive thanks mainly to a very powerful and full engine throughout the utilization curve.

Peugeot-208-GTI (2)

The settings of chassis are clearly conservatives and although it is almost impossible to get the rear axle out of its boxes, the car it is not understeer. When it comes to stopping all the cavalry, the brakes are very well dimensioned for power and resistance even though they seem to have a soft touch. In short… fast, effective and easy to wear, as well as comfortable. As a counterpart we have a controversial driving position for a GTI (high seat, low and small steering wheel) and the aforementioned lack of sporty tact, despite the fact that the pure figures are very good.


GTI utility comparison

There is nothing better for feel alive in the morning to get into your small sports utility vehicle and enjoy sensations on our boring daily commute. Jokes aside, any of these cars will work for you. a daily use but we have to choose a companion who is compatible with the weekends... which one would you choose?

Although the Audi S1 It is the fastest and most efficient by far, the rate fare save it for another league. The MINI Cooper S It has everything that a driver with sports aspirations craves: unrivaled touch, driving position, interior quality, equipment... and the charm to be a MINI, but at what price! The ibiza cupra It is "cool" a lot, it is fast, consumes little and is not expensive either, but for that price I prefer the Peugeot 208 GTI.

GTI utility comparison

And this is the "painful" conclusion which I have come to. Analyzing what each model offers and what each manufacturer asks for registering one in our name, I believe that the Peugeot 208 GTI can meet the expectations of most drivers. Okay, it does not have the sporty feel of the Mini nor can it carry the spectacular equipment of the Audi S1. It doesn't even come close to having the excellent 7-speed DSG gearbox, but because it's in the middle and it's not very expensive, I choose the 208.

Could it be that I'm getting old... Which one do you prefer?

Audi S1

SEAT Ibiza Cupra

MINI Cooper S

Peugeot GTI 208

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  1.   miguelgaton said

    Congratulations to the entire team ActualidadMotor for that great comparison. Very good quality of the photos and video!

    1.    fernan said

      The sensations and enjoyment at the wheel is a thing of the mini, that's where it surpasses the others.
      The only but is the hardness of the suspension.

  2.   Eduardo Lausín said

    The MINI has the best driving feel, the best sound and perhaps the most striking aesthetics. But the price...

  3.   Rafa Wheel said

    Sincerely with the Cupra, although later I had to spend more to make use of the "central exhaust"

  4.   Rafa Wheel said

    Honestly, with the Cupra, although later I had to spend more to make use of the "central exhaust"

  5.   tilibert said

    How much did peugeot pay them???

    1.    Eduardo Lausín said

      Nothing, in fact he left us the car less time than the rest.

  6.   jesus carpio said

    I have already had a peugeot 2 gti for 208 months, the truth is that it met my expectations, on the one hand I am still afraid of the low profile 17-inch wheels, they are not good for the city where I live. But compared to the ibiza cupra that I thought they failed a bit with the interior, the mazda 3 which was another very appetizing potion and the ford focus st... and in the end, after seeing the reviews, notes, details technicians. Everything ends up being a matter of taste and the pleasure of driving.

    1.    Eduardo Lausín said

      Congratulations on your choice, I'm sure you'll have a terrifying time with him. All the best!