The forward-looking A2 had an all-aluminium bodyshell and was full of safety kit. Audi hoped to learn from Mercedes’ troubled A-Class.
The baby Audi’s kerb weight of just 899kg was 150-200kg less than that of its rival five-door hatchbacks. This was achieved by intensive use of aluminium. The A2’s engine line-up at launch consisted of one petrol and one turbo diesel (both 1.4 litres and producing 75bhp), transversely mounted and linked to a five-speed manual gearbox.
Bubbly performance from our car’s hushed petrol engine almost matched the VW Golf 1.6-litre. Mechanical refinement was excellent and the precise, short-throw gearbox worked beautifully. Solid front disc brakes and rear drums yielded excellent stopping power, with good pedal feel and no fade.
Using conventional MacPherson struts up front and a rear torsion bar, the Audi was delightfully agile but fidgeted over patchy surfaces.
The A2 was 250mm longer than an A-Class and offered impressive interior space. Featureless front seats aside, the special-feeling cabin set new standards among superminis. The car’s high price was also reflected in a generous roster of toys and safety kit.
For: Styling, steering, build quality, economy, space
Against: Lumpy low-speed ride, hard seats