Reborn A2 is ready to charge in

31 May, 2011 5:00am Michael Taylor

Audi green light for small electric car, reviving legendary badge and set for Frankfurt show debut

There's a shock in store at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show – the Audi A2 is making a comeback, in the form of a stunning electric car concept.

The new model showcases a rival to BMW’s forthcoming i3, and could see the A2 badge emerge as its own sub-brand. 

The original was axed in 2005 due to the cost of its aluminium spaceframe chassis. The fresh model will retain this construction, but will be priced higher. Audi is set to justify the premium – and set the car apart from the more conventional A1 and A3 – with impressive technical innovation. 

As our illustrations show, the A2 is also likely to be highly flexible, with an MPV-style body. 

An insider told us: “It will only be an electric car. Most battery models are compromised as they are built on rehashed architecture, but the A2 will be built from the ground up as a pure electric machine.

“The idea is so popular [at Audi] that it could even spawn a family of A2 electric models and become almost a standalone brand.” The company recently bought a number of offshore wind turbines to offset the energy used in building a pilot fleet of A3s powered by natural gas, and is likely to pursue the same strategy to keep the A2 production program carbon neutral.

The model will also remain relatively light due to the aluminium structure under the skin. “The spaceframe is, was and always will be the car’s core,” our source insisted. Audi launched the original lightweight A2 to great fanfare in 1999, only for it to prove a sales flop, even though there was a special 1.2-litre version which claimed 90mpg in fuel consumption through the use of pioneering features such as stop-start technology. 

Today, the more conventional 1.4-litre four-cylinder versions of the A2 are still highly sought after in the second-hand market. The new model is scheduled to reach dealers by 2015, and spearhead Audi’s electric car drive.

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Reading AutoExpress is getting like reading a marketing brochure from The Office or do the lazy editors just cut and paste the press releases? That said, although the old A2 was hardly a legend, it was quite innovative in its construction (although was a bit wobbly through the corners), and I'm glad to see Audi have not completely abandoned the construction after the marketing ploy that is the A1. Still looks grumpy though with a pugfaced arse.

Its a bit late/early for this type of spoof isn't it?

This is just the equivalent of the A3 Sportback to the A3 hatch, surely? That said, I deeply regret not buying the previous A2, which I'd have probably kept until now. It still looks fresh and the even high-mileage models seem to command a high price, given their age.

I can't see the "only available as electric" ploy working, but hopefully Audi will have more success than with the original A2. Presumably 1999 was a bit too early for premium-priced small hatchbacks. How times have changed!

You would deeply regret not buying one until you had driven one....

I had one for a month when the engine of my new A3 blew up 9 years ago. 1.4TDI managed 36MPG on average. It was like driving around in my old Subaru Sumo van

I'm getting a wee bit fed up of these Audis all the looking the damn the same with their massive grill and clean lines...its just getting boring.

Wheres the flair ? I used to think BMW and Merc were bad at this but Audi of late are loking so hum drum with each new model the same as the rest with a slight tweak to the design of the LED lights.

Time for a spark of madness and a little risk me thinks.

I had an A2 1.4tdi in 2002, was excellent on fuel, driven fairly hard, still managed an average of 57mpg (fuel costs tracked due to company allowance).
It averaged 69.8 (by method of filling tank and taking the 300 odd miles covered and doing the sums) when on motorway at 70mph with cruise on.
The worst I ever managed was totally flat out, fully loaded with car spares (owned a Dolomite Sprint at the same time) from Carlisle to Perth, 125 miles roughly, filled tank again and got 48.6 mpg, most of the way doing 100, but it was still picking up speed at 120.
I have no idea how you managed 36mpg, it would do more than that in reverse!!
Also, the Michelin Energy Tyres it was supplied with lasted 35000 miles on the front, given that it was usually blatting around back roads at 85, that was good wear.
I sometimes wish I had another one, got an A4 2.5tdi which can do 53mpg on a good day, it's also good for towing a big caravan, and still get more than 36mpg.
What happened to the engine on the A3 exactly??

Congratulations Audi - you have managed to create another ugly little runt of a car. What on earth has happened to your design team?

When is Audi going to stop playing safe with its design?
I, for one, have become completely bored by that grill.
It just dominates the front.
The rear is a straight lft from the A1.
Sadly, the sheep buying public will flock in droves to this car.
Baaaaaahhhhhhhh.

A lot of the comments on here are about the styling, but the article says that this is an AutoExpress artist's impression - which has been used before, many months ago. I would expect the A2 to have more of the styling cues of the e-tron concepts when it appears at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

some much nonsense written about the A2 - best go to A2OC webpage for accurate information! Had my A2 1.2 TDI since 2002 - now over 150,000 miles, road tax free (81g/km CO2), generally 85MPG (imperial gallons) and have seen 103 MPG in rush hour drive over 28 mile journey. It is no slouch due to light weight and very low drag (0.25Cd). In germany, on one journey over 2 hours, I averaged 95mph on Autobahns and still achieved 66MPG with full load. Can take seats out and carry more than an A3 - have had washing machine and even a sofa in the boot! As for handling - took it round Castle Combe race track with a Lotus racing driver - he was very impressed by handling on such skinny Bridgestone tyres (145/80R14) !

The Audi grill is hideous. If it were a third of the height it'd look like a nice smile. The horrible oblong is repeated as a motif on Audi steering wheels

Surely this is just a photoshopped original A2 with the latest design cues....very lazy!! I'm sure they'll make it look different to the original!

AEX 1330
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