A2 1.4 '02

The Audi A2 (internally designated Typ 8Z ) is a premium compact MPV styled five-door four- or five-seat hatchback designed supermini, 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.

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 car was built in Audi's Neckarsulm 'aluminium and RS plant' on a special line purpose built for the aluminium A2, the last cars left the factory in August 2005.

History

The A2 was produced at Audi's "aluminium" Neckarsulm plant in Germany. It was the first five-door vehicle on sale in Europe whose average fuel consumption is less than 3 litres per 100 kilometers (94.2  mpg-imp; 78.4 mpg-US), although these figures only applied to a special "3L" version with a diesel engine, automatic gearbox, stop-start system, less power and narrower tires. Due to the construction, the average A2 weighs less than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb).

Styling

The A2 was a surprise when it debuted only two years after the original Al2 study. Many initial reviews, including those from What Car? and Autocar in the UK commented on the design. Autocar's initial drive verdict: "The best thing about the A2 is that it isn’t merely a design exercise. Yes, it’s a great car to look at, sit in and touch, but it’s also a riot to drive". The avant-garde styling did not, however, win favour with some potential customers. Audi was reported to be disappointed with the level of sales; the final production was 176,377 units. This is in comparison to rival Mercedes-Benz' A-Class sales of 1 million.

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 using considerable aluminium and aluminium alloy content, providing significant weight advantage over similar sized cars. This helps the car to be significantly more economical than vehicles using traditional steel monocoques; under certain circumstances, consumption of just over 2 litres per 100 kilometres (140 mpg-imp; 120 mpg-US) is possible. The Audi A2 won the Nordic Countries "EcoRun" economical driving race in 2005 with consumption of 2.62 L/100 km (107.8 mpg-imp; 89.8 mpg-US). Even the normal gas engined versions 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 coefficient of drag: 0.25 - 0.29 depending on model.

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 better interior space are evident as a result of this design decision. "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 "overpriced" for the 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 and incorporate lightweight building concepts using aluminium and associated alloys into a "mass market" vehicle; the 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; 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, however, thus be considered a trailblazer for various newer aluminium-based vehicles, such as the second generation Audi A8, Audi TT, and Jaguar's recent X350 Jaguar XJ and 2006 on Jaguar XK.

Parts of the A2 which are still made of steel include the bulkhead behind the front bumper ("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.

Interior

The A2 has a large interior space for the exterior dimensions, including a boot, at 390 liters (13.8 cu ft) with the rear seats 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 sports 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 this has a tendency to wear over time, especially on the climate control keys.

Quattro GmbH - as Audi Exclusive - were prepared to customise the A2 in the same ways that they would any other Audi. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of "Individual" painted cars is extremely small; among the several thousand German A2 owners represented in the A2-freun.de forum, only two individual cars have ever been noted. The colours available corresponded to the extended Volkswagen Group palette at the time—including any Volkswagen Group colour and many others too—but the option was expensive, at around €2000. A set of 10 A2s is said to have been created in Almond beige with orange color.storm interiors as dealer demonstrators and at least two of these have been seen on the used market in the past. It is impossible to document the existence of these vehicles, not least due to the lack of co-operation from the German authorities in terms of freely-available, reliable, colour information, and that used-car websites are not archived.

The A2 had many innovative ideas - such as the space floor storage system which was a box that slotted in the rear passenger foot well, a rear cup holder which unclipped and a double (false) floor boot where items could be hidden from thieves or the space saver spare wheel stored. The warning triangle and first aid kit have a home directly to the left of the boot opening. The toolkit was stored, depending on equipment, next to the battery; if space was needed for the navigation system and / or Bose subwoofer, it was moved to the sandwich compartment in front of the right-front seat (driver on UK cars, passenger on LHD ones). The headrests also do not need to be removed from the rear seats when they are folded, and a four-seater can have the rear seats removed in a matter of seconds. The rear seat belts also have a clip in the upper section of the c-pillar, so that when the seats are folded and returned to their normal position, the belt will not get tangled. More examples of energy saving can be found in the glovebox light that only turns on when the lights are on and the freewheel pulley on the alternator belt, meaning that the alternator is only used when necessary. The climate compressor is also turned off when the ambient temperature drops below 5 degrees C. The ECON function of the climate control (where fitted) also turns off the auxiliary heating or the compressor, depending on temperature. This functionality is unaffected by the presence of fuel-powered or electrical auxiliary heating.

Service Hatch / "Serviceklappe"

The front of the car included an unusual design feature called the "Serviceklappe" in German — this translates to "service hatch" or "service panel". On early cars, this was a glossy black panel at the lower edge of the bonnet (hood), where the radiator grille would normally be sited. Behind it are the filling points for oil and windshield washer fluid, and the dipstick. Thanks to these features, in the daily use of the car the bonnet does not need to be raised.

The bonnet was widely rumoured to be sealed — Car and Driver wrote: "...feature of the A2 that may foretell the future: the sealed hood". Actually, the bonnet is easily removed, being held in place by two twist-lock catches. The around 8 kg heavy bonnet then comes away from the car altogether, unlike the usual hinged flip-up arrangement on most other cars. Due to the service hatch, the need remove the bonnet to gain access to the internal combustion engine is minimal.

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. It is, however, relatively simple to change, so 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 windshield wiper; very early models have a traditional blade, where newer ones have a "flex" version ("Aerotwin" from Bosch, model 760). This change was made for model year 2002.

Changes and additions

2000-2001

2002-2003

2003-2004

2005

Special versions

Audi also released an S line version in Germany - with larger 17" wheels (standard were 15"), sports seats, special half-leather seat coverings, leather gearstick and 3-spoke steering wheel and 10mm lowered suspension. In the UK, the last Audi A2's were badged as special edition models featuring a reduced price tag and climate control and a Concert radio with cd player free of charge.

1.2 TDI

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 lowest polluting, only emitting 86g/km of CO2 emissions.

Two versions of the car were available in Germany during its production run. The 3L version, which used only 3 L/100 km (94 mpg-imp; 78 mpg-US), was "standard". This version had no power steering, climate control or other extras, with the only optional extra being body coloured door handles and wing mirrors. The reason behind having no optional extras was that every option adds weight and loses economy. For this reason the fuel tank was also only 21l.

The second version, which was at least available in Germany, was a 1.2TDI version which, though not possessing 2.99l/100  km economy was still capable of 3.2l/100 km. This version had options for climate and other extras but was not available in all markets.

On both versions, the glass was thinner, the seats were lighter and smaller wheels and tyres were used, with the standard fitment being only 145/65R14 Bridgestone Ecopias using very flat wheelcovers to minimize turbulence. The engine block was also made from a light alloy despite it being a diesel. The rear spoiler was reshaped, moved and extended through wind tunnelling to achieve a 0.25 cd figure. Additional underbody panels were also added to achieve this. The car had an automated manual transmission which had a Tiptronic mode and a clutch which engaged when the accelerator pedal was released for maximum economy. The car also had an ECO mode. When engaged it limited the power to 30 bhp (22 kW; 30 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 revolutionary back in 1999. 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 also has only 4 wheel bolts and non-steel brake drums at the rear, along with many aluminum suspension components.

A total of 6450 1.2TDI models were built.

Replacement

There was no direct replacement for the A2 when it was discontinued in 2005, however, Audi re-entered the supermini sector in 2010, with the Audi A1.

Rumours of another new supermini model, possibly to be named A2, have circulated since 2009. As of May 2010 this new model is expected to be an electric car, with conventional steel monocoque construction and is predicted to be launched in 2012.

Technical information

The Audi A2 was available with the following internal combustion engines:

engine
name
displacement
/ configuration
max. power
at rpm
max. torque
at rpm
engine ID
code(s)
0-100 km/h (62 mph)
(seconds)
top speed fuel consumption years
produced
Gasoline engines
all fuel injected
1.4 16v 1390 cc inline 4cyl 16v DOHC 55 kW (75 PS; 74 bhp)
@ 5,000 rpm
126 N·m (93 ft·lbf)
@ 3,800 rpm
AUA,
BBY
12.3 sec 173 km/h (107.5 mph) 6.0 L/100 km (47.1 mpg-imp; 39.2 mpg-US) 06/00–04/02
05/02–08/05
1.6 FSI 1598 cc inline 4cyl 16v DOHC
Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI)
81 kW (110 PS; 109 bhp)
@ 5,800 rpm
155 N·m (114 ft·lbf)
@ 4,400 rpm
BAD 9.8 sec 202 km/h (125.5 mph) 5.9 L/100 km (47.9 mpg-imp; 39.9 mpg-US) 05/02–08/05
Diesel engines
all Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI)
1.2 TDI
aka: 3L
1191 cc inline 3cyl SOHC 45 kW (61 PS; 60 bhp)
@ 4,000 rpm
140 N·m (103 ft·lbf)
@ 1,800–2,400 rpm
ANY,
AYZ
14.9 sec 168 km/h (104.4 mph) 3.0 L/100 km (94.2 mpg-imp; 78.4 mpg-US) 03/01–08/05
1.4 TDI 1422 cc inline 3cyl SOHC 55 kW (75 PS; 74 bhp)
@ 4,000 rpm
195 N·m (144 ft·lbf)
@ 2,200 rpm
AMF,
BHC
12.6 sec 173 km/h (107.5 mph) 4.3 L/100 km (65.7 mpg-imp; 54.7 mpg-US) 06/00–08/03
09/03–08/05
1.4 TDI 1422 cc inline 3cyl SOHC 66 kW (90 PS; 89 bhp)
@ 4,000 rpm
230 N·m (170 ft·lbf)
@ 1,900–2,200 rpm
ATL 10.9 sec 188 km/h (116.8 mph) 4.3 L/100 km (65.7 mpg-imp; 54.7 mpg-US) 11/03–08/05