Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
Audi tried for a long time to make a small premium car.
The A2 was a technological achievement, and the car offered a lot for its class. But it was a flop.
While some car-makers are trading some interior space or some more fuel-efficient engines for the benefit of performance or the exterior look, Audi chose another path and offered a vehicle light, roomy and fuel-efficient. Then, what went wrong?
For starters, the A1 was based on a concept car shown at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show. When the production model was unveiled two years later in the same location, the car was appreciated for its engineering solutions. But nobody said that the car was beautiful. A round front with flush headlights and a small grille were the main ingredients. The short and angled hood was continued with an arch that was stretched toward the back of the car, forming the greenhouse. It was a simple design, but it was not a heart-breaking one.
Inside, there were five seats available, with enough legroom and headroom for adult passengers. Minimalist dashboard design and a four-dials instrument cluster enhanced the front side of the cabin. The minimalist trend was continued to the center stack and on the center console where there were no buttons. The split 50:50 rear seats could have been folded to expand the trunk area.
Under the hood, the A2 was fitted with very fuel-efficient engines, mated to a 5-speed manual. A special version, with a 1.2-liter turbodiesel unit, was offered with a 5-speed automatic. The car was very practical and useful in the city. But overall, the car was not appealing at all. It failed in a market where the design really mattered.