Light Fantastic
Classics Monthly|Issue 254

We revisit Audi’s cleverly engineered lightweight loss-leader. Just don’t mention the A-Class.

Paul Wager

If you’re not up on all things ingolstadt, you might not have noticed that the current Audi range runs logically from A1 to A8 but no longer contains an A2.

The official line is that the model wasn’t replaced in 2005 because it was simply too costly to produce and retail at a price the market would stand.

All of which was a great shame since the A2 represented some genuinely innovative thinking and in many ways paved the way for the widespread use of aluminium as a weight-saving measure in cars today.

The A2 story begins back in 1994 with the launch of the A8 which utilised a revolutionary aluminium structure.

Dubbed AsF (Aluminium space Frame) this had been developed jointly by Audi and the Us aluminium company Alcoa over the previous 12 years.

The concept uses aluminium extrusions connected by pressure die-cast aluminium nodes at the joints to create a framework, with the aluminium outer panels largely non-structural. Audi’s own calculations reckoned that the AsF car weighed in at some 40 per cent less than a conventional steel bodied equivalent and extending the design to a smaller car presented an opportunity to create something really groundbreaking.

Indeed, part of the design brief was famously to create a car which could transport four people from Milan to stuttgart on a single tank of fuel.

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