Audi has officially confirmed plans for a lightweight, electric successor to the A2, six years after the first-generation model ceased production.
Previewed by a four-seat concept car set to make its world debut at the Frankfurt auto show this month, the four-door hatchback retains the distinctive one-and-half-box silhouette, short overhangs and shallow greenhouse treatment of the original A2, still considered one of the most advanced small cars ever put into large-scale production because of its lightweight aluminum spaceframe construction and 895kg (1,973 pounds) curb weight.
But while the first-generation A2, launched in 1999, boasted a rounded, Bauhaus-inspired exterior design, the new A2 -- tentatively set to go on sale in 2013 -- gets a more technical appearance in keeping with other recent new Audi models. The new A2 is set to share elements of its chassis and underpinnings with the A1.
Key design features include a new interpretation of Audi's signature single-frame grille, angular headlamps, a short and gently angled hood, large wheel openings, a high waistline, a prominent shoulder -- or tornado line, as Audi prefers to call it -- a sloping roof and a near-vertical hatchback.
The concept's glass roof changes transparency at the push of a button, hinting of plans by Audi to offer an setup similar to the optional glass structure on the new Mercedes-Benz SLK.
The A2 concept is shorter, wider and lower than the original A2 at 3800mm (12.47 ft) long, 1690mm (5.54 ft) wide and 1490mm (4.89 ft) high. Like its predecessor, the new car also has been conceived around an aluminum spaceframe structure.
The concept also showcases the next phase in Audi's light-emitting diode technology, known as matrix beam. The headlamps use micro reflectors to generate a high-resolution, non-glaring high beam while the taillamps adapt their illumination to the visibility conditions. The rear fog light is seen as a beam of light and projects, via laser diodes, a red triangle onto the road as a warning.