Good luck with the project Steve, watching with interest. I totally concur with your last paragraph, hence also owning the up! GTI. Lightweight, good poise through corners, enough power to be enjoyable without losing your licence and you get to make use of the gears and the full rev range enhancing the driving experience and sensations of spirited progress.
I agree completely. The A2 is never going to be a fast car but it can certainly be made to feel that you are going fast.
I've driven fast cars (on paper) and you can sneeze and be doing over the speed limit, but there is no sensation of speed. I would much prefer a small agile, light car with a little bit of power that can be thrown about on twisty B roads