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2001: A Space Auditiy (Audi A2 content)

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Coolant check revealed

 

200ml used for 120 miles.

 

No drips when sitting. I think both Tayne and Dome felt that it used more if you were high RPM , constant load - e.g. motorway driving.

 

I'll check it again at the weekend (should also be first tank of Derv done too)

 

It better get 2x the Merc as its half the weight and half the cylinder count but 3/4 the power.

 

To be fair to it though, the Burd has been commuting in rush hr traffic this week.

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The one modern Audi I'd actually be interested in owning.

 

Right up to the point that I open the door and see how bland the interior is. Don't even have the funky blue and red dash lighting that VW had at the time (yes I know that's a love/hate thing - I think it looked fantastic). Have a feeling I'd have the usual issue with it too in that I am just not the same shape as the Industry German Standard Person that VAG seats are designed for...as such I can count on one hand the number of >2000 VAG cars I've been able to get anything close to comfortable in.

 

Doesn't stop me wanting to at least try driving one though... it's just a clever car, and I like clever.

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My Passat is quite comfy compared with other VAG cars I've driven with seats modelled on torture devices.

 

I had a shot of the A2 last night Its 3 cylinder diesel is comically unrefined but pulls well in its narrow torque band. It feels like an airier, lighter Fabia with better steering tbh.

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That seems right, was sure that Audi were white and red, it was only VW who used the blue. Likewise the odd aluminium mesh trim finish I saw in a Passat once...looked and felt lovely, but reckon it would have been a menace to keep clean and not sure how well it would wear long term.

 

Not a high revving engine is it, even for a diesel.

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Still looks great this many years on.

 

I've seen many manufacturers use blue in various ways, but nobody made it work and look as classy as VW did.

 

Were the dials lit by LEDs or an EL panel? Tend to think the latter as it's a really deep, almost purple tinted blue to have come from an LED back in the early 2000s, deep blue LEDs back then we're *expensive* suckers and tended to have a pretty poor reliability record. The very sharp border between the blue and the red segments on the respective gauges also suggests EL to me unless they're doing some clever light pipe witchcraft - though I'd tend to see a bit of spill on the surrounding text if that were the case.

 

VW do also have the honour of being the first commercial application of a blue LED ever - some of the early Golfs/Polos in the early 80s featured a blue Silicon Carbide based blue LED as the main beam indicator on the dash (which due to reasons of cost, availability or reliability is also sometimes replaced with a red or amber LED or an incandescent bulb with a blue filter). I really want to track down an instrument panel from one of these early cars purely to get at that LED...because I'm a lighting geek. No other reason!

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Still looks great this many years on.

 

I've seen many manufacturers use blue in various ways, but nobody made it work and look as classy as VW did.

 

Were the dials lit by LEDs or an EL panel? Tend to think the latter as it's a really deep, almost purple tinted blue to have come from an LED back in the early 2000s, deep blue LEDs back then we're *expensive* suckers and tended to have a pretty poor reliability record. The very sharp border between the blue and the red segments on the respective gauges also suggests EL to me unless they're doing some clever light pipe witchcraft - though I'd tend to see a bit of spill on the surrounding text if that were the case.

 

VW do also have the honour of being the first commercial application of a blue LED ever - some of the early Golfs/Polos in the early 80s featured a blue Silicon Carbide based blue LED as the main beam indicator on the dash (which due to reasons of cost, availability or reliability is also sometimes replaced with a red or amber LED or an incandescent bulb with a blue filter). I really want to track down an instrument panel from one of these early cars purely to get at that LED...because I'm a lighting geek. No other reason!

Next you'll be telling m your dream car is a Model 70...

 

No, wait..

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here's some slides from the University of Warwick that managed to reduce the drag efficiency of the already slippy A2 by 33%

 

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/research/lcvtp/news/hevc11/ws12_review_may11.pdf

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/research/lcvtp/presentations/ws12finalpresentation120221.pdf

post-17353-0-83233300-1553852326_thumb.jpg

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Mr. 320Touring was kind enough to give me a shot in this on Wednesday evening and I was surprised by how pleasant it was to drive, although the steering isn't exactly full of feel. The little three pot diesel is willing enough if you stir it however and as a commuter weapon I thought it ideal. If you only had an A2 to blezz about in though I think you'd book a fortnight in Scunthorpe as a treat to get away from it after a while.

It still looks funky as fuck even now and knowing they made a thumping loss on every one gives it a bit of character that most VAG products lack in my limited experience.

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First tank in on this :

 

355 miles, and fill from fuel light on to full was

 

28.47L for 56.69MPG

 

not too bad, but I would be surprised if we couldn't get it better than that.

 

Next week will be a write off though - the Mrs is on 9am-5.30pm shifts, so wall to wall traffic.

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glad to see the audi is still plodding on, I was quite fond of the weird little bugger - if I hadn't won the raffle 107, I would have probably kept it for a while longer. I've even had a cheeky look on gummers for another one, probably a petrol this time. I do like the look of that blue colour audi do, almost a matt finish with 'streetwise' bumpers and arches. 

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A cylinder leak down tester would help confirm head gasket problems

 

s-l225.jpg

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/X1L9-O772-Cylinder-Tester-Detector-Engine-Compression-Leak-down-Test-Gauges-Set/302828743960?epid=2087192525&hash=item4681ffed18:g:7JAAAOSw1d9bYtA1

 

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Car-Vehicle-Cylinder-Leak-down-Tester-Leakage-Engine-Compression-Detector-Gauge/17010680210

 

At under £20, it's a cheap way of finding out. Helps find other problems too.

 

For any that don't know, you get a cylinder at TDC on firing stroke then with the tool, fill the cylinder with compressed air. You can then listen or watch for bubbles in the coolant tank, hissing from the exhaust or the inlet indicating valve problems or blow by the rings causing hissing from the crankcase/cam cover/crankcase ventilation system. You need a compressor but nothing big or expensive. 

 

Might be worth a thought. 

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Thanks for the feedback re potential coolant loss.

 

I checked the coolant this morning, and noticed the expansion tank was covered in splashes - like coolant has stayed out the cap.

 

I gave it a clean up and will see if there is any evidence tomorrow.

 

It's looking likely I'll need to take the plunge at some point..

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I think that test has already been done and it was a positive result.

 

From the original thread, I thought it was just a sniff test. The checking for exhaust gases in coolant bottle with the liquid changing colour in the tester? 

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Now this has been on fleet for a while, I thought I had best give some of my initial impressions of driving it (getting the keys out the Bird's hauns can be difficult)

 

Where to start?

 

In the cabin, the feel is classic early 2000s VAG - all soft touch plastic and buttons engineered for feel.

 

Maybe when this was new it made for a pleasant user interface - now, 18 years and 185k miles later, it's just a sea of slightly tacky (as in sticky!) Plastic, and switches where the beige has rubbed off to reveal the black switch beneath.

 

Whoever specced it with BIEGE cloth interior needs to re-think what a nice interior looks like.

 

The layout is sensible, so far, so VAG, but the equipment level is somewhat stingy.

 

No air-con, or even a basic On Board Computer to provide feedback to the driver. This is an odd oversight in a car built for MPG - the driver has no way of monitoring either average or instantaneous MPG. On previous VAG cars I have owned (Skoda Fabia/Octavia) there has always been an OBC. It must have been a ploy to get owners to buy into "premium" features.

 

The seats themselves are good - excellent support on the fronts (manual adjustment), and the rear seats have a handy feature whereby the rear can be set to two different upright positions, providing some more boot space, whilst still functioning as rear seats. They are also split 50/50, so handy that way too.

 

The boot itself has a mixture of advantages and problems. It has a nice, tall opening with plenty of height for loading, and with the seats in their rearmost position, it'll still happily swallow 5-6 large bags of shopping.

 

However, usefulness is somewhat compromised by the relatively narrow boot opening and the high load lip.

 

Ok, let's talk about what it is like to drive.

 

You sit high in the car - similar to the experience of a first Gen Mercedes A Class, bit without the engine under your feet. Luckily, the Aluminium construction minimises the impact of the tall profile, and the car doesn't carry too much weight up top. The positive side to this is that the general visibility is good by modern standards - making it easy to plan ahead and drive smoothly. The one exception to this is the rear window - its shape distorts the rear view significantly, hilariously makinging every following car look like either a hearse or something out of whacky races..

 

Handling is not a forte - the narrow width and short wheelbase don't really inspire the confidence to wheel it into corners like you were in an ur-quattro. However, as a small car, and especially as a tall small car the turn in and lack of roll is very engaging. If one is so minded, some entertainment can be had back roads blasting.

 

The ride quality is nothing to write home about either, though this is likely exacerbated by this particular example's high mileage, and 16" wheels. The suspension is not likely to be an expensive fix, unless considered in the context of the cost of the car, where even replacement stock dampers would likely be over 100%. It's not the worst ride, and there are no obvious serious suspension issues, so I shall leave well alone just now.

 

Unfortunately, the A2 does have an Achilles heel - and it's quite a fundamental one.

 

The engine.

 

Firstly, a qualifying statement. My frame of reference for diesel engines extends to the VAG 1.9 TDi in pre PD and PD Formats, the XUD in N/a and TD form and the old mechanical pumped n/a om603 in my 320k mile Mercedes s124.

 

All of the above units are generally well regarded as being effective engines, and were considered (at their respective times) as being efficient or technologically advanced.

 

Ergo, you'd expect the 1.4TDi in the A2 to be good, given that it is essentially a 1.9TDi PD lump with a cylinder lopped off?

 

Alas, you'd be wrong.

 

Often, small 3bangers can be a hoot to drive - especially those which emit a "half a V6" bark (Daewoo Matiz, I'm looking at you!).

 

Diesel does not lend itself to such feelings. Instead, upon starting, a faint hint of Lister (NOT the Storm!) Can be detected. There must be a fair bit of meat on the flywheel to try and dampen vibrations, but at just above idle you get more shoogle than an airport massage chair.

 

Pulling off is ok, and the engine is keen enough to rev, but there is not much grunt to write home about. Like a lot of VAG engines, all the work is done relatively low in the rev range - revving past 3500 is not really worth the effort.

 

But, it is a diesel, not a Clio 172, so one can't expect a sonorous conveyance, however, wafting along on a wave of torque can be fun too!

 

At least I hear it can. This thing makes 144lb/ft peak torque (incidentally 1lb/ft more than the om603 in my Merc..) at a lowly 2200rpm. Good says you - slap bang in the happy zone for a turbo diesel.

 

Well maybe someone should have intimated that to the gearbox engineers. This thing has LLLLOOOOOOONNNG gears. So long, infact, that you need to use 4th at 30mph, and it's not happy to pull below about 1500rpm if you go full throttle.

 

It's likely I wouldn't be so critical if I hadn't encountered how good the 1.9TDi PD is, or if the car was lower mileage, but I'm definitely not impressed. I think the engine/gearbox are the components least "Audi like" on the whole car, and I could imagine many potential buyers being put off when they were new.

 

All the above is my own opinion, your mileage may vary etc, and on balance, I'm still pleased by how well it goes and works for the money I have in it.

 

Hopefully I'll be back soon with an update - hell I may even service it!

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Great write up! Agreed on that era of VAG (and merc too I can attest) soft touch coatings on plastic switches and handles etc- it somehow degrades and gets sticky and picks up crap. Nice!

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Good write up indeed.

 

Personally I was quite impressed with it when I had a shot. I like torquey engines and am not comfortable revving something unless it's the only option to instigate forward momentum of any sort or I am doing a hoon. I was quite surprised at how sprightly it was.

 

Based on all that you note however I don't think I would choose one.

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I find the background concept of this car absolutely fascinating. At the time, I don’t remember there being any particular drivers for lightweight, fuel efficient cars, but yet both Audi and Honda felt the need to develop one. Both were so expensive they didn’t sell in numbers. As far as I can remember, there were no legislative pressures for fuel efficiency or driving down CO2 emissions - it wasn’t a thing yet.

 

The only thing I can think of is that the companies were keeping an eye on what was going on in academia with regards to LCA and global warming (it was being researched and published, but it wasn’t mainstream at that point) and carried out exercises for future-proofing?

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The second tank was completed a few days ago.

 

This was 100% the Burd driving, and she was on shifts that involved driving in the middle of the morning rush hour (lots of crawling traffic)

 

The result?

 

A none too shabby 55.71mpg

 

307.7 miles, 25.11L Derv consumed.

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