Audi has drafted in one of its shining design stars to lead the rebirth of its much-missed A2 premium city car (pictured).
Highly placed sources have admitted the Ingolstadt premium carmaker is already deep down the engineering path for a replacement for the all-aluminium, premium five-door A2.
And to keep the new A2's design in keeping with the ageless original, sources have admitted it will be designed by young German, Chris Winkelmann.
Senior Audi insiders say the 32-year-old designer, responsible for both the Q5 and the upcoming A8 flagship, will have the all-new A2 ready within two years.
Audi launched its ground-breaking A2 in 2000 with 1.2- and 1.4-litre diesel and 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol models, including an eco version capable of 3.0 litres per 100km. Yet the high-risk strategy failed and, by 2005, the A2 had slipped away, many senior Audi managers admit that if it had persisted for just another year, things may have been very different.
"We probably pulled the plug a bit too early. We were too far ahead of the curve for a prestige city car," Audi Design Director, Steffan Seiloff admitted.
"It's strange the way the perceptions of the A2 have changed inside Audi. I was part of the design team and, for a long time, people almost wiped it off their resumes. Now, it has swung back the other way."
While Audi has shown an A1 to rival the MINI, the A2 concept is a completely different style of machine and, insiders have admitted there was a secret, unsuccessful bid in 2007 to resurrect the car from its mothballed tooling.
And recently departed Audi Australia MD, Joerg Hofmann, was known to be a fan of resurrecting the A2 in one form or another. During the local launch of the Q5 SUV last year, Hofmann confided with journalists that he felt the tiny aluminium-bodied car, which was never sold here, had left a gap in the Audi range.
-- with staff
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