|Production||15 November 1999–August 20052014–|
|Class||Compact MPV, Supermini|
|Body style||5-door hatchback|
|Layout||transverse front engine, front wheel drive|
|Engine||1.4 L I4, 1.6 L I4 FSI, 1.2 L I3 TDI, 1.4 L I3 TDI|
|Transmission||5-speed Getrag manual, 5-speed direct shift automated manual transmission|
|Wheelbase||2,405 mm (94.7 in)|
|Length||3,826 mm (150.6 in)|
|Width||1,673 mm (65.9 in)|
|Height||1,553 mm (61.1 in)|
|Kerb weight||895 kg (1,973 lb) to 1,030 kg (2,271 lb)|
The Audi A2 (internally designated Typ 8Z is a compact MPV-styled supermini, and a five-door hatchback with four or five seats produced by the German automaker Audi AG from November 1999 to 2005. Based on the Audi Al2 concept car first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997, the A2 was notable for being constructed from aluminium, which in combination with its efficient engines, made it an extremely economical car on fuel.
Packages available in Germany included 'Advance', 'Style', 'High Tech', and later 'S line'; whereas in the United Kingdom, the A2 was available in various trim levels, including: 'Standard', 'SE' (for 'Special Equipment'), 'Sport', 'Special Edition' (2005 only).
The A2 was produced at Audi's "aluminium" Neckarsulm plant in Germany on a special line purpose-built for it.It was the first five-door vehicle on sale in Europe with an average fuel consumption less than 3 litres per 100 kilometres (94.2 mpg-imp; 78.4 mpg-US), although these figures only applied to the special "3L" version with a diesel engine, automatic gearbox, stop-start system, less power and narrower tyres. Due to its construction, the average A2 weighs less than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb). The last cars left the factory in August 2005.
Design, engineering and construction
The overriding theme in the design and engineering of the A2 was summarized by the then Audi UK product manager in an interview after the car won a design award in 2001 as "create a small Audi, not a cheap Audi" and the creative brief is said to have been “Transport four people from Stuttgart to Milan on a single tank of petrol”.
The A2 is built with a considerable amount of aluminium and aluminium alloy, making it weigh significantly less than cars of similar size Its reduced weight helps it to use much less fuel than vehicles using traditional steel monocoques. Under certain circumstances, consumption for the 1.2 TDI model can be as low as just over 2 litres per 100 kilometres (140 mpg-imp; 120 mpg-US). This version of the Audi A2 won the "Nordic Eco Run" fuel economy race in 2003, with a consumption of 2.62 L/100 km (107.8 mpg-imp; 89.8 mpg-US).Even the normal versions with petrol engines are capable of 5 L/100 km (56.5 mpg-imp; 47.0 mpg-US). The A2 was also notable for being the first Audi model since the 1970s Audi 50 not to be offered with its 'trademark' quattro four-wheel drive option. The A2 has a coefficient of drag of between 0.25 and 0.29, depending on the specific version.
The A2 still uses a contemporary unibody construction, with significant elements of space frame principles, and it is tagged by Audi as an 'Audi Space Frame' design. The outer panels of the body have little or no structural function - similarities exist with the original Renault Espace - and the space frame bears the forces working on the car. The frame uses casts and extrusions which are laser welded together to make the space frame. Improvements in shell stability, durability and stiffness, lower weight, and more interior space are results of its construction. "The A2, on the other hand, was designed as an aluminum car and the spaceframe has been optimized by parts consolidation, using large, cost-effective castings instead of aluminum stampings".
Unfortunately, the cost of working with aluminium, particularly with small production runs, meant that the A2 was more expensive than other cars in its sector, competing with the A-class and losing. Much of the high production cost was due to so many parts not being "off the shelf" and being specifically optimized for the A2. From Autobild in 2003: "The A2 is not one of the models with the highest return on investment". The same article quotes the sales figures for 2002 as being 20,000 in Germany against 80,000 for the A-Class and "...lots of money for a car that is only 3.8m long."
Audi was the first manufacturer to try to incorporate lightweight building concepts using aluminium and associated alloys into a "mass market" vehicle. Previous efforts at using the Audi Space Frame were limited to the rather more expensive Audi A8. As a guide to the mass involved, the entire shell weighs so little that two people can easily pick it up, and the side panel over the doors including the A- and D-pillars weighs approximately 2 kilograms (4 lb). A 2002 model A2 with standard equipment has a mass of 895 kg (1,973 lb).
The A2 can thus be considered a trailblazer for various newer aluminium-based vehicles, such as the second generation Audi A8, the Audi TT, and Jaguar's recent X350 Jaguar XJ and 2006 Jaguar XK.
Parts of the A2 which are still made of steel include the bulkhead behind the front bumper (the "slam panel"), the wiper arm, standard A2 suspension components (the 3l ones are frequently of aluminium alloy), the rear brake drums and the exhaust system.
The A2 has a large interior space for the exterior dimensions, including a boot with 390 litres (13.8 cu ft) of space when the rear seats are in place. This is significantly larger than the luggage space of the next model in Audi's range, the Audi A3. Due to the "sandwich"-type construction, similar again to that of the Renault Espace or the Mercedes A-Class, the floorpan has an upper and a lower portion. The space in the middle is used to house various components, such as the fuel tank and the engine's electronics. The rear passengers also benefit, as their foot space reaches into this sandwich space, creating a comfortable seating position even for tall rear seat passengers. This is in direct contrast to the comfort available on the rear bench of an A-Class. To improve the weight distribution of the vehicle, its battery is located inside the boot, under the floor.
The A2's interior was very upmarket in comparison with other superminis. In both the UK and Europe, there were several choices of seat material and colour, comprising the standard Cirrus cloth, optional Matrix cloth, optional Alcantara/leather, or full pearl Nappa leather seat coverings. Sport models received sport seats with electrically adjustable lumbar support as standard in Jaquered satin cloth. Seat materials were available in a choice of red, blue, beige ("jive" or "twist", code 4QC), pale grey ("platinum", code EC3), dark grey ("swing", 24S) or black ("soul", 6PS). Individual options were also available such as vivid yellow, red or blue seats, steering wheels, gear lever, handbrake lever and door armrests. The color.storm models introduced in 2003 brought bright colours to both the outside and inside of the A2, including "papaya" orange. Soft touch materials are used on the doors and contact areas in the centre console, though they have a tendency to wear over time, especially on the climate control keys.
The basic equipment that is standard across all versions of the Audi A2 from 2000 to 2005.
Facelift and additional models
The service hatch is the most obvious indicator of the age of any particular A2. It was changed to matte black for the "color.storm" colour schemes, and for model year 2004 it acquired fake grille slats. However it can be changed easily, so it should not be taken as a reliable age indicator. Very little else was changed externally during the life of the car. Colours and roadwheels designs were changed mildly during the production run. The only other external indicator of the age of the car is the windscreen wiper. Very early models have a traditional blade, but starting in model year 2002, newer cars have a "flex" version ("Aerotwin" from Bosch, model 760).
Audi also has a version of the A2 in its Neckarsulm plant which has been converted into a pickup truck by trainees — the "A2 Caddy". This was on public show for the first time at the A2-Club of Germany's annual meeting in Amberg, Germany, in August 2005. Pictures of the event are available on the German A2-freun.de site linked below.
Audi also released an S-line version in Germany as of late 2002, with 17" 9-spoke "RS4" style wheels (standard were 15"), sports seats with large side bolsters and lumbar support, special half-leather seat coverings with Pearl Nappa leather and Sprint cloth, leather handbrake handle, perforated leather gearstick and 3-spoke steering wheel and 10 mm lowered sports suspension. Additionally, the interior roof lining, the dashboard and carpets were black, the instrument faces titanium-coloured and an S-line badge was added to the rear doors. The driver information system and illuminated vanity mirrors for driver and passenger completed the package
In the UK, the last Audi A2s (from early 2005 to June 2005) were badged as special edition models featuring a reduced price tag, digital climate control and a 'Concert II' radio with CD player as standard. They were the only models available in the UK at this time and were available with either the 1.4 petrol or 1.4 TDI engines. This special edition gave the A2 a final sales boost in the UK.
Lekker/DBM electric A2
In October 2010, an A2 converted to electric power by Lekker Energie and DBM Energy completed an early morning 600-kilometre (370 mi) drive from Munich to Berlin on a single charge. Upon arrival, Rainer Bruederle, Germany's Economics Minister, called the test drive a "world record."
The car was said to still have 18% of its charge remaining on arrival in Berlin and the average speed was reported as being 90 km/h (56 mph). The "kolibri" batteries used in the design are so compact that the vehicle retains its four seats and boot space. A production version would be possible. "The technology could be implemented today. It is up to industry to use this potential," commented Mirko Hannemann, the head of DBM.
1.2 TDI "3L"
The Audi A2 1.2 TDI had the lowest drag coefficient of any car in the world at the time of its launch. It was also one of the most economical and least polluting, only emitting 81 g/km (German emission standard D4) to 86 g/km (D3 emission standard) CO2 emissions. The Audi A2 3L reuses the engine and special gearbox developed for the equally efficient Volkswagen Lupo 1.2 TDI 3L.
Two versions of the car were available in Germany during its production run. The D4 version, which used only 3 l/100 km (94 mpg-imp; 78 mpg-US), was "standard." It had no power steering, climate control or other extras, with the only optional extra being body coloured door handles and wing mirrors. There were no optional extras because optional equipment adds weight and loses economy. It had a fixed rear seat cushion. The tested fuel economy was 2.88 l/100 km.
The second version, which was at least available in Germany, was a D3 version which was still capable of 3.0 l/100 km. This version had options for climate control, a winter pack, and a comfort pack, but was not available in all markets. Ordering these packs ensured power steeering or spot lamps as part of a package. The OSS system was not available at all on the 3L.
Both versions had thinner glass, lighter seats, and 14" Magnesium alloy wheels. The standard tyre fitment was 145/80 R14 T76 Bridgestone Ecopias or Continental Winter Tyres using very flat wheel covers to minimize turbulence. The engine block was also made from a light alloy, so even though it was a diesel, it weighed just 100 kg (220 lb).
The rear spoiler was reshaped, moved and extended through wind tunnel testing, and additional underbody panels were added to minimize drag to achieve a 0.25 cd figure. The car had an automated manual transmission with a Tiptronic mode on the selector. The car also had an ECO mode. When engaged it limited the power to 41 bhp (31 kW; 42 PS) (excluding kick down) and programmed the transmission to change up at the most economical point. ECO mode also activated the start/stop function, a feature that was new to European cars at the time. In ECO mode, the clutch was disengaged when the accelerator pedal was released for maximum economy, so the car freewheels as much as possible, with the clutch re-engaging as soon as the accelerator pedal or brake pedal is touched. The 3L also has only 4 wheel bolts and finned alloy brake drums at the rear, along with many aluminum suspension components. An internal presentation from Audi appears to indicate that the complete shell of a 3L A2 weighs around 15 kg (33 lb) less than that of a "normal" A2. The 3L has been noted on the Autobahn under non-scientific conditions to be faster at top speed than the standard A2, mainly as a result of the extremely long 5th gear ratio and the excellent aerodynamics.
A total of 6450 1.2 TDI models were built.