Audi is planning a renewed attack on the premium small car ranks with a replacement for its slow-selling A2 (right). The new car, tentatively codenamed Au250, is set to ditch the costly aluminium space frame of the current A2 for Polo-based steel unitary body construction. Ingolstadt top brass indicate that this will allow it to forge ahead with a number of body styles, including hatchback, coupé and convertible variants. ‘The successor to the A2 is not yet completely finalised, but it will almost certainly adopt conventional construction,’ a high ranking Audi official told Autocar, adding, ‘our current method provides a suitable hi-tech image but it is extremely costly to produce.’ Until now Audi has been non-committal on a follow-up to the A2 since announcing that production of the first-generation model was to end this August. But with sales of premium small cars – such as BMW’s Mini – on the rise across Europe it appears plans for a replacement have now been accelerated. The best indications are for the launch of the new model in late 2007. The basis for the new small Audi is a platform being developed by parent company, Volkswagen. Known internally as PQ25, it is planned to underpin a bevy of different cars, including future VW Polos, Skoda Fabias and Seat Ibizas. Set to support both front- and four-wheel drive, Audi’s plan is to modify the new structure with lightweight suspension components, as it has done with the A3’s PQ35 platform, which is also found underneath the VW Golf, Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon. Among the engines Audi is considering for the new A2 are improved versions of the existing 1.6-litre four-cylinder FSI petrol and 1.4-litre three-cylinder TDi units mated to a new six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission.