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.