Audi A2 1.2 TDI - a double saving
Drivers of the three-litre version of the Audi A2 are rewarded not only by exceptionally low fuel consumption: the A2 1.2 TDI is approved throughout Europe in accordance with EU Emissions Directive 1999/102/EC. In Germany the basic version even satisfies the limits of what is currently the strictest standard, D4. In the rest of Europe the A2 1.2 TDI naturally complies with the EU III emission regulations. This further reduces the cost of ownership.
As an officially recognised three-litre car, the following applies to the Audi A2 1.2 TDI: together with the D4 tax concession it is exempt from vehicle taxation in Germany until this concession expires, probably at the end of 2005.
Economical fuel consumption and low exhaust emissions are not the only things that make a car more environmentally attractive. Its overall impact, from the raw materials consumed, through the car's operating life, to its ultimate recycling, is of decisive importance. In terms of the accumulated CO2 emissions throughout its product life, the amount of energy it consumes and also the sum total of virtually all relevant environmental pollution, the Audi A2 1.2 TDI is currently the most progressive production car in the world in its size and performance class.
Audi offers unique experience and expertise in the development and series production of aluminium cars. The aluminium-bodied Audi A8 has been in production since 1994 at Audi's Neckarsulm plant, where the Audi A2 is also built. The development centre there is the "think-tank" of modern aluminium technology in automotive engineering.
The Audi Space Frame ASF
The Audi A8 established new standards in the luxury car sector. Its all-aluminium body, based on the ASF principle, represented a quantum leap in the development of lighter vehicle bodies that nevertheless exhibit high strength. The weight reduction cuts fuel consumption and renders the car more agile. The ASF principle also affords optimum protection for the car's occupants in the form of a rigid passenger cell.
Whereas annual production of the Audi A8 is running at around 15,000 units, annual volumes of 60,000 vehicles are possible for the A2. With its evolved Audi Space Frame, the A2 is the first vehicle on which aluminium technology has been realised in volume production.
A new dimension to aluminium technology
Low weight is the characteristic feature of the Audi A2 - but, technically speaking, it is of course anything but a "lightweight". In fact, it is brimming with ideas and innovations that have never before been used on volume?built cars.
The idea behind the ASF concept is basically this: the panels are integrated into a high-strength aluminium frame structure, in which they also have a load-bearing effect. The space frame proper - weighing around just 76 kg - consists of extruded sections, some of which are connected by vacuum die-cast nodes. In conjunction with reinforcing aluminium panels, the frame is extremely rigid overall yet very light.
The vacuum die-castings in the area of the side structure are of unique complexity. This tailored aluminium structure, with multiple reinforcements and varying wall thicknesses, enables a level of functionality and strength that would entail a substantial weight increase if it were made of steel.
This drive to implement advanced joining techniques - the best example being laser welding - convincingly resolves the conflicting objectives of maximum strength and minimum weight. The roof frame consists of aluminium profiles shaped by an internal high-pressure technique. Thanks to this, it is possible to obtain a cross-section which varies several times in the course of its length, ideally reflecting the requirements which each zone has to meet. Many of the necessary cutting processes are also carried out in the same operation. The entire bodyshell, including doors and tailgate, is consequently 43 percent lighter than an equivalent steel structure.
The side of the car in particular is a masterpiece of aluminium-working technology, touching on the limits of what is currently possible. The entire section, from the front roof post to the luggage compartment edge, including the door cutouts, is formed from a single piece of aluminium. This ensures high precision and reproducible quality, both of them essential requirements for maximum automation and high-volume production.