1999 Audi A2.
Average consumption of just 2.99 liters of diesel per 100 km (78.67 mpg): this extremely ambitious target had already been specified when Audi began developing the A2 in the mid-1990s. Three factors would prove to be indispensable in achieving this: highly efficient engines, low weight and an excellent drag coefficient.
Firstly, Audi engineers turned to cutting-edge three-cylinder and four-cylinder engines. Among them was the 1.2 TDI, which was to break the three-liter barrier. Audi was able to meet weight requirements thanks to the ASF (Aluminum Space Frame) construction principle. The basic version of the A2 weighed just 895 kilograms (1,973.14 lb).
The requirements of aerodynamics led to an undeniably unique two-box design. The body of the A2 tapered considerably toward the rear and the coupe-like roof line sloped markedly toward the ground. No windshield wiper was needed for the decidedly curved rear window: a long spoiler protected it against rain and dirt. The A2 1.2 TDI had a sensational drag coefficient of just 0.25 – an accomplishment which remains unbeaten up to the present day.
For the passengers, this concept entailed no sacrifices whatsoever. On the contrary: as many as five people and their belongings had plenty of room thanks to the upright seat positions on board the A2. This facilitated comfortable and, if necessary, extremely quick travel.
“The A2 epitomizes Audi design of the late nineties,” points out Stefan Sielaff. “It was puristic and plain, and practically dogmatic in design. It was not an emotional vehicle – sensible more than anything. But it embodied that timelessness which designers always aspire to. Even today, the A2 strikes a bold pose. It is one of the cars which has been most significant for Audi.”
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