Thursday 14 July 2016
We head to Switzerland to find out if Audi’s new Q2 will win over those looking for an affordable, premium compact SUV.
Unveiled to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in March, this sporty-looking SUV is the fourth (and smallest) member of Audi’s Q range – the entry point to the Q range – alongside its bigger brothers, the Q7, the Q5 and the Q3. Priced from £22,230, it’s set to take on the Mercedes GLA and the BMW X2.
Taking the form of a five-door utility vehicle, the Q2 is quite the looker. Thanks to its high shoulder line and low roof that descends and merges into the C-pillars with contrasting colour offset blades, the Q2 boasts a bold and
muscular stance. Up front, its high-mounted singleframe octagonal grille, hawk-eye headlights and large air inlets mounted on the front bumper result in a menacing look.
The Q2 incorporates the latest multimedia gadgets from the new A4 and there are three generously equipped specification levels to choose from, with the entry level SE versions benefitting from a suite of features from standard. These include smartphone interface, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch MMI screen and Bluetooth connectivity.
For an additional £1,500, Sport models gain 17-inch alloy wheels (up from 16 inch on SE), drive select with five operational modes, cruise control, light and rain sensors, and sport seats. Step up to the range-topping S Line, £2,250 above the Sport, and stand-out features include the hallmark front, side and rear styling enhancements, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED interior lighting, and a multi-functional steering wheel. All models can be specced with Audi’s virtual cockpit display – an all-digital 12.3-inch display showing information tailored to the driver’s needs.
To help attract a new generation of buyers, Audi has created an extensive palette of extravagant colours for customers to choose from – 12 to be precise. There’s also a huge list of customisation options inside and out including a two-tone roof and coloured dash inserts and inlays. These little touches have been specifically designed to counter criticism that all Audis come only in dull greys, blacks and blues. All UK cars will also come with colour-coded bumpers.
Let’s look at the tech: inside, drivers will be impressed to see the Q2 comes with a wireless phone charger, smartphone connectivity and a Bang & Olufsen stereo system as standard. In short, the Q2 is equipped with technology you’d expect to find further up the range.
Along with the optional virtual cockpit and head-up display, the Q2 can also be specced with assistance systems such as Audis’ pre sense safety kit (which includes pedestrian recognition and Autonomous Emergency Braking), adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and active lane assist.
The Q2 also fulfils the fundamental expectations of an SUV with benefits such as good visibility and a large boot, which can carry up to 1,050 litres. Optional practical solutions include a power tailgate and a three-way split rear bench backrest with cargo through-loading.
It’s spot on. Audi has managed to build a spacious and compact SUV that can nip around corners with ease. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful models in the segment. It even incorporates a low seating position, similar to what you’d find in an Audi saloon car, which gives you confidence while on jaunts across winding country roads.
The Q2 is launching with an initial choice of two four-cylinder petrol engines – the 115bhp 1.6-litre TDi and the Cylinder-on-Demand 150bhp 1.4-litre TFSi. A three-cylinder 115bhp 1.0-litre TFSi and a four-cylinder 150bhp 2.0-litre TDi will become available later in the year. The 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel units are expected to top the sales charts.
As an alternative to the six-speed manual gearbox, Audi has said it will offer the seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission across the range, bar the 1.0-litre, which is already standard on the 2.0-litre TDi. The brand has also announced that from 2017, a 2.0-litre TFSi petrol unit, allied exclusively to Quattro all-wheel-drive and S tronic, will be introduced to the range. At this point, it will be possible to combine the 150bhp TDI and TFSI engines with Quattro drive.
As standard, the Audi Q2 offers buyers plenty of bang for their buck. You could describe it as a compact A4; not only is it offering premium equipment and driver engagement at a lower cost to its rivals, it’s got bags of space and
oozes family-friendly practicality from every corner. It’s also more than £4,000 cheaper that the entry-level Mercedes GLA 200 CDi Sport.
Hatchback drivers in the market for their first SUV would find the Q2 an appealing alternative, since they wouldn’t be giving up on the performance and handling values of a sporty supermini. For couples looking for a versatile and
refined family vehicle, with a spacious and stylish cabin, this crossover should be at the top of their ‘to test drive’ list. The Q2 will be available to order in August 2016 with first deliveries expected in November.
Model: Audi Q2 1.4 TFSi COD Sport
Engine: Four-cylinder, inline spark-ignition, turbocharged
Transmission: Seven-speed S tronic
Performance: 150bhp, 250 Nm torque
Economy: 45.2mpg combined
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