Audi A2 2022 review

The A2 is a funky Audi hatchback sold between 2000 and 2005

£2,663
Average price
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2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Funky design
  • Very practical interior
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Expensive repairs and parts
  • Uninspiring engines
  • Rear seats aren’t easy to access
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model review

Audi is a manufacturer known for being quite straight-laced when it comes to introducing new cars, but one of the exceptions in more recent years was the A2

Launched well before crossovers and small SUVs became a thing, the idea of the A2 was first launched in a 1997 concept car, known as the AI. The production car was shown in 1999, retaining the funky design and clever engineering. 

What the A2 was really all about was showing that a compact car didn’t have to mean cheaply engineered, with an Audi executive once saying that the aim was to ‘create a small Audi, not a cheap Audi’. Made from aluminium, the A2 was brilliantly engineered, with its construction making it impressively light, and aero efficient, subsequently meaning fuel costs were low. The original brief of it was for a small car to be able to take four people from Stuttgart to Milan on a single tank of fuel.

Latest model

The trouble, though, was that not many were willing to spend huge sums on a compact car. And with a new price of up to £16,500 in 2001 (the equivalent of almost £30,000 in today’s money), it was very expensive. It proved to be nowhere near as popular as Audi expected, with the German firm reportedly losing thousands of euros on each car it sold, due to the sheer cost of the engineering. 

Changes to the A2 over its time included the addition of a more powerful 1.6-litre petrol engine in 2002, while Audi also launched a funky Colour Storm model, bringing a range of bright colours and chunky black plastic cladding. The A2 bowed out of production in 2005 with a Special Edition version, which brought customers additional standard equipment. 

Value for money

As we’ve mentioned, the A2 was a rather expensive option when it was new, really only appealing to those on higher salaries – it’s well worth remembering this Audi was on sale a long time before affordable finance rates were introduced. On top of the already quite steep prices, many chose thousands of pounds on options, meaning there would have been some very expensive A2s going around. 

As the A2 hasn’t been on sale for close to 20 years, the number of used models for sale is relatively slim, though prices for the cheapest cars start from as little as £1,000 for usable, high-mileage examples. Cleaner examples are available from around £2,000, while the best-of-the-best A2s go for £5,000. Many tip the A2 as being a ‘future classic’, due to its bespoke nature, so if you look after it, you’re unlikely to lose any money with it. 

Looks and image

It’s no understatement to say that the A2 was ahead of its time, and given the popularity of Audi’s junior A1 today, if the model was modernised and re-released, it would likely prove a great success. Though its design will soon be 25 years old, it really doesn’t look that way on the exterior, with its clean lines and neat proportions still making it stand out today. The bolder Colour Storm versions are the most eye-catching. 

Inside, the A2 has aged in much the same way most cars from this era have. That said, the fuss-free and clean layout is still usable and doesn’t feel all that outdated. The main draw to the A2, though, is its quality. It could teach plenty of brand-new cars a thing or two, with its upmarket materials and superb build quality really setting it apart from rivals at the time. 

It was also quite a good thing to drive, too, helped by its lightness making it feel more agile than many cars in its class, and it feels modern too. At higher speeds, the A2 cruises happily, while the high-set driving position helps to make it feel slightly more like a crossover. The downsides are that the ride is quite firm, while neither engine is a real asset to the A2, with the diesels feeling especially tractor-like. 

Space and practicality

From the outset, the A2 was impressively well packaged. It’s smaller than most superminis, but still fulfils Audi’s original aim of making a car that could happily seat four adults, though space in the back can be a bit tight, not helped by the sloped roof. Most A2s also come with individual rear seats, too, meaning most cars can only seat four, rather than the usual five. 

Just be aware that rear visibility out of the back isn’t great, because of the split rear tailgate and lack of wiper. 

Engines

The A2 range comprises two diesels and two petrols, with all featuring an automatic transmission. 

Let’s start with the petrols, with a choice of a 74bhp 1.4-litre petrol or a punchy 110bhp 1.6-litre petrol. The latter is the quickest A2 in the range, managing the 0-60mph sprint in just under 10 seconds. 

Moving over to diesel, which many A2s use, there is a three-cylinder 1.4-litre TDI option available. Most use a 74bhp output, but a more powerful 89bhp option was introduced later into the A2’s life. 

Running costs

Thanks to the A2’s lightness and sleek shape, it remains an efficient choice even by modern standards. The diesel options especially are remarkably good on fuel – quite comfortably returning 60mpg, and more on a decent run. Low CO2 emissions also make it more affordable to tax as well. 

That said, even the A2’s petrol engines should still prove relatively efficient, with around 45mpg likely from both 1.4- and 1.6-litre units. 

Just be aware that the A2 does sit in quite high insurance groups due to its bespoke parts, while you’ll still pay premium costs when it comes to maintenance.

Things to look out for

The A2 has proven to be quite a sturdy choice over the years, as evidenced by the number of examples you’ll see for sale that have surpassed 100,000 miles. Good service history and evidence of careful maintenance are the main things to look out for, as this isn’t an Audi that takes well to neglect. 

You should also look out for any dings or damage to the bodywork. Due to the unique aluminium structure, any damage is expensive to replace, and a reason why so many A2s have been written off over the years.

Rivals

The closest rival to the Audi A2 is the Mercedes A-Class, though other compact premium cars on the market at the time included the BMW 3 Series Compact and the Volkswagen Golf. If you want a practical small car, and aren’t so fussed about the badge, take a look at a Honda Jazz

Depreciation

All A2s will now have depreciated as far as they’re likely to go, with prices soon set to start to increase as the model gains cult status. That said, it’s unlikely to skyrocket, but is a relatively safe used car to sink money into. 

Trims explained

Three main trim levels are available on the Audi A2 – SE, Sport and Special Edition. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

Standard Trim –

All A2s benefit from 15-inch alloy wheels, an alarm, electric mirrors, and remote locking. You also get a leather steering wheel, front and side airbags and a space saver spare wheel.

From £1,000 (used)

SE –

The SE trim is quite similar to the standard car, though you do get a CD player and front fog lights too.

From £1,200

Sport –

With the Sport, you get larger alloy wheels, along with sports seats with electrical adjustment and lumbar support in the front.

From £1,250 (used)

Special Edition –

Special Edition models came later in the timeline, and were kitted out with a CD player, while climate control – then an expensive feature – was also included.

From £2,000 (used)

Summary

  1. Small, upmarket supermini sold between 2000 and 2005
  2. Aluminium architecture made it very light…
  3. And subsequently exceptional on fuel
  4. Practical interior
  5. Great build quality
  6. Engine range is a bit lacklustre
  7. Fixes/dents will be costly to sort…
  8. Otherwise should be reliable
  9. Feels more modern than it is
  10. A funky Audi that will one day earn classic status

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