What makes a well fettled A2 special to drive?

Robin_Cox

Member
A simple question that I hope will entertain some discussion, thoughts or even anecdotes. I remember back when they were contemporary, car magazines eulogising A2s for brilliant steering as compared to the rather stodgier larger models of the 80s & 90s, although this was tempered by other people finding the ride harsh probably due to specific setup combinations (sport suspension, 17" wheels, heavy tyres etc.).

Although the superstructure is radically different, the base underpinnings - most of the suspension components, power steering and so on - are shared with or very similar to many other VAG small vehicles of the time, yet I don't recall ever hearing similar positivity about the steering and handling feel of contemporary Polos, Fabias etc - and I've driven a few base model Polos of equivalent age and they were just 'beige' in comparison. I've replaced/refreshed the suspension on all three of ours and they never fail to put a smile on my face on twistier roads around where we live. Recent conversations (with @greywolfhound among others) corroborate with this.

So where does this 'special' feeling come from? It can't *just* be a little less weight from the Aluminium frame & body, could it? Are there any other things such as A2-specific niceties of the geometry, wheelbase dimensions, centre of gravity, or power steering assistance levels that contribute to a sweet spot ?
 

Robthebank

Member
very stiff bodyshell and the reduction in weight, it makes ALL the difference
Agreed, when a top mount went on my Seat last year I could feel that wheel start to try a tuck under, when it was the inside wheel on a fast corner, as the worn mount was allowing the geometry to alter (we’ll that’s how it felt). I also think the harsh ride also adds to the fun like it does in an old mini. Plus I just feel happier knowing I’m in a very efficient vehicle.
 

A2Steve

A2OC Donor
If you can put up with the slightly firmer suspension, you really should try an A2 on coilovers. It transforms the car into a little go kart
 
If you can put up with the slightly firmer suspension, you really should try an A2 on coilovers. It transforms the car into a little go kart
And on our roads it loosens your fillings 🤣 I’ve had them on cars before I’ve bought they soon came off ...totally agree on smooooth tarmac but we don’t live in France 🇫🇷....😉
 

B7and8Z

Member
I use a back lane to jump ahead of the queuing traffic at road works and come out just before the 200 yard sign and it's a real hoot. I wouldn't call mine especially well sorted, either.
 

Menno

Member
Here's a little YouTube clip. Look at the aft wishbone or lower control arm bush.

A2's do have an full rubber bushing around the wishbone, Polo's got an half rubber bush (black, not the yellow upgrade) , at least not full, which allows movement in their control arm......... Talking about control then....... NOT! 🤣




Cheers, Menno.
 

mrbroons

Well-Known Member
Agreed, when a top mount went on my Seat last year I could feel that wheel start to try a tuck under, when it was the inside wheel on a fast corner, as the worn mount was allowing the geometry to alter (we’ll that’s how it felt). I also think the harsh ride also adds to the fun like it does in an old mini. Plus I just feel happier knowing I’m in a very efficient vehicle.
I may this issue, is there something I can check for to confirm? no other symptoms apart from I light up the near side front wheel under acceleration in anything but bone dry conditions.
 

Menno

Member
Wow I’m Amazed at the amount of movement that rubber needs to be tough ....
Yup......... They're not on Polo, wear out pretty quick..... In the "polo scene" the bushes are changed for....... A2 BUSHES! Tadaa, and what a surprise; They're giving Polo's a wee bit more confidence in road control.
 

Proghound

Admin Team
I have 3 remapped TDI75's in various states of suspension tune. The combination of the torque from the remap and the innate handling ability of the A2 always puts a grin on my face when I want to play, but I have to play different in each car.
The Storm is lowered 25mm with Weitec/ST springs, Monroe shocks and a rear ARB, on 17" Sport rims. Sadly it's too hard and too rough-riding to enjoy the B-roads round here much, but a smooth roundabout is definitely another matter :D
The Cobalt Sport with OSS that I took to Scotland last year has Sachs shocks, no name on the springs but they're black with white numbers. Its 16" TT Ronals aren't the best for comfort either. It corners tidily enough on the back-roads and it's not under-damped, but it feels .... the best way I can describe it is 'springy' - like a basic mattress, you definitely know they're there.
My favourite for handling is my original Crystal blue SE, at 106k and still on OEM original suspension (although the rear shocks were "upgraded" from a breaker). The front is now rather wavy so I can't go too mad on the bumpy bits, but on oversized tyres on 15" pepperpots it's so smooth and despite the softness of the springs, its remaining agility level in the bends is a very pleasant surprise. While it's the least capable in the handling stakes, I find it's the most engaging, you feel like you're having more fun when you have to try a little harder. This one is going into WOM for a refresh next month, the brief is as close to OEM spec as possible. I am really looking forward to what comes out :)
 
I have 3 remapped TDI75's in various states of suspension tune. The combination of the torque from the remap and the innate handling ability of the A2 always puts a grin on my face when I want to play, but I have to play different in each car.
The Storm is lowered 25mm with Weitec/ST springs, Monroe shocks and a rear ARB, on 17" Sport rims. Sadly it's too hard and too rough-riding to enjoy the B-roads round here much, but a smooth roundabout is definitely another matter :D
The Cobalt Sport with OSS that I took to Scotland last year has Sachs shocks, no name on the springs but they're black with white numbers. Its 16" TT Ronals aren't the best for comfort either. It corners tidily enough on the back-roads and it's not under-damped, but it feels .... the best way I can describe it is 'springy' - like a basic mattress, you definitely know they're there.
My favourite for handling is my original Crystal blue SE, at 106k and still on OEM original suspension (although the rear shocks were "upgraded" from a breaker). The front is now rather wavy so I can't go too mad on the bumpy bits, but on oversized tyres on 15" pepperpots it's so smooth and despite the softness of the springs, its remaining agility level in the bends is a very pleasant surprise. While it's the least capable in the handling stakes, I find it's the most engaging, you feel like you're having more fun when you have to try a little harder. This one is going into WOM for a refresh next month, the brief is as close to OEM spec as possible. I am really looking forward to what comes out :)
What a great write up Ian ..I see similarities in a couple of mine ..I genuinely get a grin on my face from these little gems ..as some of you know I have a 500+ bhp 911 sits in the garage along with the Ducati ..and if both went tomorrow I would not be disappointed maybe at 65 I’m mellowing ..sally would not want for anything else ..and I feel the same and I suppose with 4 now no one could doubt it ..😉 starting to enjoy the latest oss petrol just so different lighter steering feels very nimble ...good town car warms up quick .
 

B7and8Z

Member
I'm considering selling one of my Audis, and it isn't the A2. It's just so fun to drive, that the B7 cabriolet feels like a blunt weapon and makes me miss something sorted like my Swift Sport was.
 

Un4tural

Member
Find it really fun and nippy and can keep the foot down still getting silly good MPG, mind not getting nearly as good as my old AMF (foot down to the floor almost always and still 60ish mpg around town, silly!)

the turbo kick is a lot of fun as well, like a hammer drop and it just flies.

i did find my old 2001 AMF and current 2005 ATL quite different to drive though, ATL feels heavier/sturdier somewhat, more adult than the AMF (it wasn't sport where ATL one is) good fun to chuck it around without much worry at normal speeds.

Probably my favorite thing is the lack of silly electronics, friend has a newer A5 and been in newer fords, all the drive assists and that BS just makes me want to drive it up a tree, someone turning left? It yells at you that you're about to crash or slam brakes for you... with the A2 generation you still get the control and if you choose to be stupid the car just complies rather than whinging at you. Then again most auto gearboxes make very angry as they always seem to do opposite of what i want them to do.

All that with going on a few hundred mile road trip on a fuel budget of what you find in the seat cushions with no worry of breaking down at all. Seriously, my ATL, clutch gave up and DMF essentially coughed out the springs, but it still got me home and would still drive as long as i was gentle with gears... could hardly believe when i saw the state of it and shook out a necklace worth of broken springs out of there.

My mum's AMF still goes loyally, that thing has seen probably about 60k miles of dirt roads at this point, it is unbelievable, yet mechanics i spoke to keep going on about electrical issues with them...

Used to hate it at first but it really grown on me, and as long as you do the usual maintenance these are ridiculously reliable. (I've only had TDIs, and i understand there are some issues with FSI but it doesn't sound like a deal breaker to me?).
 

Menno

Member
@Un4tural same here, although I switched the other way around involuntarily.....

The ATL feels more mature and maybe "modern" in the way the power is delivered.
Mine was feeling a bit comfy sofa, had to do with some worn shocks I guess. Unfortunately it became a write off before I had the chance to replace the complete suspension.

My current AMF was more rigid (not harsh by any means) in terms of comfort, although it was up in the air like it was raised. Maybe the springs were changed for ones that belonged to a type with OSS, don't know.

Anyway, I chucked on some B8's with lowering springs, and the thing came round corners faster than I dare. It was challenging me to go faster (come on you fairy, is that all you've got? 🤣).
Downside was speed reducing bumps, city driving and bad road conditions.
It was harsh on these conditions, especially at the front side, I could not live with it.
So exit the lowering at the front, enter Spidan 49527 at the front.
Although not recommended to use B8 with standard springs, the outcome of these suits me very well.
My AMF feels confident and planted in fast sweeping bends, yet is coping good with speedbumps, city driving and rough tarmac.
At the back I've still got the PI lowering springs and they keep the A2 pretty stable.

Although I enjoy my A2 daily, there will come a time our paths will be separated.
Again not voluntary from my side, but because of being a diesel and by now "persona non gratta" according to governments......

Still, before the subject changes; they're great little cars with lots of life in them and very good engineerd.

OH, and if you make sure that your earth leads are spot on, no wet spots around the hidden floor box and battery life is good, there's less chance of giving electrical hassle.
It's indeed often heard that they're a nightmare on electronics...... Well IF you're a mechanic then find out why, and solve it!
 

Menno

Member
I may this issue, is there something I can check for to confirm? no other symptoms apart from I light up the near side front wheel under acceleration in anything but bone dry conditions.
If not already done; checking alignment/tracking of wheels is a good starting point.
 
@Un4tural same here, although I switched the other way around involuntarily.....

The ATL feels more mature and maybe "modern" in the way the power is delivered.
Mine was feeling a bit comfy sofa, had to do with some worn shocks I guess. Unfortunately it became a write off before I had the chance to replace the complete suspension.

My current AMF was more rigid (not harsh by any means) in terms of comfort, although it was up in the air like it was raised. Maybe the springs were changed for ones that belonged to a type with OSS, don't know.

Anyway, I chucked on some B8's with lowering springs, and the thing came round corners faster than I dare. It was challenging me to go faster (come on you fairy, is that all you've got? 🤣).
Downside was speed reducing bumps, city driving and bad road conditions.
It was harsh on these conditions, especially at the front side, I could not live with it.
So exit the lowering at the front, enter Spidan 49527 at the front.
Although not recommended to use B8 with standard springs, the outcome of these suits me very well.
My AMF feels confident and planted in fast sweeping bends, yet is coping good with speedbumps, city driving and rough tarmac.
At the back I've still got the PI lowering springs and they keep the A2 pretty stable.

Although I enjoy my A2 daily, there will come a time our paths will be separated.
Again not voluntary from my side, but because of being a diesel and by now "persona non gratta" according to governments......

Still, before the subject changes; they're great little cars with lots of life in them and very good engineerd.

OH, and if you make sure that your earth leads are spot on, no wet spots around the hidden floor box and battery life is good, there's less chance of giving electrical hassle.
It's indeed often heard that they're a nightmare on electronics...... Well IF you're a mechanic then find out why, and solve it!
I hope along with the rest if this forum Menno that you will be able to enjoy a good few years yet of your a2 before the Dutch government eventually come down and say no more ☹....but let’s look on the positive side my friend enjoy it now I’ve always liked reading your write ups on here ,,I have said it before you put a lot of us British to shame with your understanding of the English language and long may it continue ..you take care ..Paul
 

Vantagemech

Member
A few weeks ago I fitted the cheap lowering kit you can get from ECP, with a discount the kit was £170...
With the Whiteline ARB and a set of mid range 205/45/17's the car is a stupid amount of fun ( its also remapped).
I will play with the ride height but so far its not bottomed out on anything - even with the family in it and the missus hasn't even remarked on the additional firmness of the coilover kit (she does know I got suspension for it as she cursed the weight of the box when it arrived!)
I no longer do the 400+ miles a week - so far ive had 300 miles out of a tank - early small one - so around the 50 mpg over the last 2 weeks. My fuel bill has pretty much halved though in this weather the car is only up to temp for about 4 miles before I arrive at work.
Yes I do need to be aware of pot holes etc, but it makes a mundane trip fun.
 
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