RE: Shed Of The Week: Audi A2

RE: Shed Of The Week: Audi A2

Friday 18th July 2014

Shed Of The Week: Audi A2

Audi did the premium, efficient small car 15 years ago and Shed's found one under £1,000



What's the first car you think of when somebody utters the immortal phrase 'ahead of its time'? If your answer was 'Austin Allegro', please browse off to another, browner website.

If however you thought of the Audi A2, welcome to normal society. This motoring cliche is the one most often associated with the radically-styled mini-MPV that would carry five bods in a surprisingly small footprint, that was hewn from aluminium to minimise weight and fuel use, and that was the first European five-door to hit the Holy Grail target of 'three litres per 100km' back at the turn of the century.

Looking pretty smart for 165K miles
Looking pretty smart for 165K miles
That's right: this car was launched in the last century. By extension, the shape must have been penned about twenty years ago. That's a very long time, especially in motoring, but the A2's tin woodlouse look is still fresh today.

So why were less than 200,000 sold, compared to the million-plus deeply flawed A-Class Mercs that sidled onto our roads? Well, a mainstream product that's ahead of its time is fine, but not when it also comes with ahead-of-time pricing. These days, nobody would so much as blink at the idea of paying premium rates for a titchy motor, but back in 2000 the concept of a small Audi at a big price only confused people.

This one, our first A2 SOTW, is the 75hp 1.4 petrol. It's cheap because of its high mileage and flickering engine management light. This could very easily be nothing more than a failed sensor, and less than ยฃ100 to fix.

Yes the diesel would be preferable but it's ยฃ995!
Yes the diesel would be preferable but it's ยฃ995!
The petrol A2 is not as characterful as the 1.4 TDI, which in its own rattly way was also well in the vanguard of engine design by virtue of its three-cylinderishness. You'll rarely find one of them for under ยฃ2K though.

Shed ran a very early 1.4 TDI for the best part of a year. He remembers its remarkable spaciousness and (visibility-impinging A-pillars aside) its easy, rather cool, driving experience. The functional sparseness and intelligence of its design made every trip feel special, an unusual trait for this class of vehicle.

A2s come with quirks, too, which is not something you can say about every Audi. '02 models and later switched to a new design of windscreen wiper, but the earlier ones made the whole car rock. The rear screen glass has a slightly distorting effect on anything behind, visually converting conventional motors into tall A2-alikes. Good.

Still kind of works for such an old design
Still kind of works for such an old design
Perhaps the most freakish A2 feature was its lack of conventional engine access. Contrary to popular opinion, A2 bonnets aren't sealed. You can release and remove the entire panel (which weighs just 8kg) via two catches. Routine liquid topping-up was a keyhole-surgery procedure carried out through the black 'grille' that is actually a service flap. It was a bold metaphor for fill-and-forget motoring and a strong statement of corporate confidence. Sadly, dodgy flap release cables were no means an unknown fault on A2s. Shed had one in his. He also had a speeding ticket in it, for a measly 93mph on the A303. According to Shed, it felt like 70. He swears he can still smell the traffic cop's rank breath as he leant in through the window.

There was some factory talk of a new A2 for 2012, pinching the steel monocoque from the A1. It seemed a retrograde step for such an avant-garde little car. Evidently Audi thought so too because that project was canned, along with plans to productionise 2011's electric A2 concept. Interestingly, CEO Rupert Stadler has just said that Audi plans to dominate the premium car market by 2020. BMW, Mercedes and indeed Jaguar might have something to say about that, but you suspect that the inclusion of a new and even more advanced A2 in those plans would put Audi in with a decent shout of meeting its goal. An excellent execution of an excellent concept.

Here's the ad.

SILVER Hatchback.1390 cc Petrol, Manual. SILVER, FSH PX Clearance, Drives Fine but EML Light comes on here and there hence Bargain Tax MoT Sept 14, Standard Features - PAS, Drivers airbag, ABS, Remote central locking, Alarm, Immobiliser, Front electric windows, Alloy wheels, Radio/Cassette, Front head restraints, Body coloured bumpers, Passenger airbag, Traction control, Height adjustable drivers seat, Steering wheel rake adjustment, Electric door mirrors, Side airbags, Steering wheel reach adjustment, Rear headrests, Space saver spare wheel.

Author
Discussion

LotusEspritTurbo

Original Poster:

287 posts

219 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
Nice little car, looks good and they're reliable. Definitely worth a grand.

Pistachio

1,116 posts

154 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
In terms of classics this is definately one of them
ageless lines and still if not more relevant now than it was when launched.
for 1K snap it up

-crookedtail-

1,426 posts

154 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
Awesome shed, love these biggrin

blearyeyedboy

5,126 posts

143 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
Even with some repair work to be done, this is an awesome SOTW. I'd be sorely tempted... scratchchin

mikeyr

2,675 posts

157 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
An external design that has the styling of a new car - strange how the premium small car sector didn't take off back then.

Anyone owned one on here - they look a bit small to be practical or do they pull the Honda Jazz space trick?

curley

399 posts

183 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
We've had one of these from new in the family for the past 13 years .

Great little car , apart from routine maintenance it hasn't wanted for anything . It even has the original battery !!!

cptsideways

13,220 posts

216 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
Big fan of the engineering & design of these, an ally monocoque & panels, one of the most aerodynamic production cars too. Have owned a couple of Tdi's that did great service. However the ride in all of them is awful though with the little wheels & balloon tyres they are just about acceptable.


The ultra rare 3L Tdi version is the ecomiser of the fleet which I've always been after, though I ended up with a Lupo 3L instead with which it shares the same drivetrain & daft economy.


They suffer the usual Audi traits of Spanish made switchgear & dodgy electricals so make sure you buy a copy of VAG COM if you want to run one.


Bennet

1,456 posts

95 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
I had one.

The acolytes on the owners forum talk like you can squeeze a three seater sofa in to it. It uses it's space pretty well but don't expect miracles.

I sold mine after less than a year because I couldn't stand the agricultural nature of the diesel engine and long throw gearbox. Perfectly likeable in every other way and it really did do 50mpg around the suburbs. I'd have the 1.6 if I were buying another.

nicfaz

357 posts

194 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
Excellent shed - a car that was truly advanced for its time. Put a private plate on it and enjoy frugal, chic motoring.

(not for me as struggles to overtake tractors...)


blearyeyedboy

5,126 posts

143 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
I particularly like the demonstration of how good the grip is in the fifth photo. wink

mikeyr

2,675 posts

157 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
blearyeyedboy said:
I particularly like the demonstration of how good the grip is in the fifth photo. wink
That's a lot of downforce laugh

pSyCoSiS

2,838 posts

169 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
I think these are very cool and quirky cars.

Still look modern and fresh today and were revolutionary in design when launched in 2000.

Ideal family run around and a great SOTW.

They still ooze a bit of quality.

The Tea Boy

4,117 posts

199 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
blearyeyedboy said:
I particularly like the demonstration of how good the grip is in the fifth photo. wink
hehe

exceed

452 posts

140 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
cptsideways said:
Big fan of the engineering & design of these, an ally monocoque & panels, one of the most aerodynamic production cars too. Have owned a couple of Tdi's that did great service. However the ride in all of them is awful though with the little wheels & balloon tyres they are just about acceptable.


The ultra rare 3L Tdi version is the ecomiser of the fleet which I've always been after, though I ended up with a Lupo 3L instead with which it shares the same drivetrain & daft economy.


They suffer the usual Audi traits of Spanish made switchgear & dodgy electricals so make sure you buy a copy of VAG COM if you want to run one.
A THREEE LITRE version!?! Noo????

Dave Hedgehog

12,982 posts

168 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
i deeply disliked these when they came out and one Audi's biggest financial losses ever at 1.3 Billion

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/...


MentalRental

454 posts

170 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
I bought my wife one as a wedding present in 2010. Low mileage @ 34k, 90bhp diesel. One elderly gentleman owner from new.

A great little car, would do 100mph 4 up with ease (on the autobahn officer). Excellent fuel economy.

Two weeks later we found my wife was pregnant and the pram she wanted wouldn't fit in the boot. Why sell a car to accommodate a pram? Four years later we have no A2 but do have two daughters and an even bigger pram.. And an Smax.

Best little car we've ever had. If only briefly


MentalRental

454 posts

170 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
I bought my wife one as a wedding present in 2010. Low mileage @ 34k, 90bhp diesel. One elderly gentleman owner from new.

A great little car, would do 100mph 4 up with ease (on the autobahn officer). Excellent fuel economy.

Two weeks later we found my wife was pregnant and the pram she wanted wouldn't fit in the boot. Why sell a car to accommodate a pram? Four years later we have no A2 but do have two daughters and an even bigger pram.. And an Smax.

Best little car we've ever had. If only briefly


16plates

1,253 posts

91 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
Love seeing these on the road. Pretty rare considering. Great looking cars, if i was in the market for a shed this would be up there for sure.

Turbobanana

2,931 posts

165 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
I worked for Broadspeed when these were launched. We imported an early, LHD one from Belgium and ran it as a company hack.

Felt like a quality car but had a very short range on an incredibly small tank, despite its economy (we had a 1.4 Petrol, I think).

Good value for a bag, however.

exceed

452 posts

140 months

Friday 18th July 2014
quotequote all
exceed said:
cptsideways said:
Big fan of the engineering & design of these, an ally monocoque & panels, one of the most aerodynamic production cars too. Have owned a couple of Tdi's that did great service. However the ride in all of them is awful though with the little wheels & balloon tyres they are just about acceptable.


The ultra rare 3L Tdi version is the ecomiser of the fleet which I've always been after, though I ended up with a Lupo 3L instead with which it shares the same drivetrain & daft economy.


They suffer the usual Audi traits of Spanish made switchgear & dodgy electricals so make sure you buy a copy of VAG COM if you want to run one.
A THREEE LITRE version!?! Noo????
Research turned up this information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_A2#1.2_TDI_.223L...