AUDI'S rival to the Mercedes-Benz A-class, the all-aluminium A2, turned out to be one of the biggest draws on the Fleet Show 2000 stand it shared with the TT Roadster and Coupe quattro and the A6 2.5 TDi quattro Sport with the new 180bhp V6 TDi engine. The distinctive, lightweight five-door A2 is expected to enter the UK market in September with prices from below £14,000 for a 75bhp 1.4-litre petrol-engined model boasting ABS, electric windows, electronic stability programme (ESP) and alloy wheels as standard.
Early in 2001 it will be joined by a 1.4-litre three-cylinder turbodiesel version with one of the lowest carbon dioxide emissions outputs in its sector - just 116g/km - and a combined fuel consumption figure of 67mpg. The small TDI has already made its debut in Volkswagen's new Polo range.
Despite an entry price which could open up the brand to a wider market, Audi will be keeping sales volumes 'niche' - understood to be no more than 4,500 units in a full year.