The new Q2 is the fourth Audi SUV added to the Australian market in the last few years joining the Q7, Q5 and Q3 in formidable line-up that is capturing the interest of those SUV buyers who are a tad partial to a touch of luxury.
The Q2 is designed, priced and equipped to appeal to the younger, edgier crowd who want elegance and performance and some head-turning too wrapped into one.
Polygonal shaping differentiates the Q2 from the rest of the Q family at present with that design reflected in the grille, headlights, along the side of the car and the prominent wheel arches. It gives the Q2 that different, trendier look and feel that the manufacturer is hoping will attract the younger crowd but still manages to retain the Audi ethos. Well, for the most part anyway.
The interior, too, is familiar yet different. The dash is simple and uncluttered, a little bit stark maybe, with the controls for the dual-zone climate control taking centre stage. Front air vents keep their Audi shape but are now plastic as are many more of the touch points, although fit and finish still seem good. Chunkier door handles and the option to personalise everything from the interior trim, front bumper, wheel arches and even the C-pillar blades is another way in which the Q2 is breaking the traditional model, one that will probably find favour amongst millennials.
The Q2 is just over 2 metres wide and 4.2 m long, smaller than an A3 Sportsback, but comfort levels remain high with a feeling of spaciousness throughout the cabin. In practical terms though, there is probably less storage around the cabin than we have become accustomed to – two cup holders in the front, a cubby in the centre stack and deepish door bins are the highlights on that front with the 405-litre boot of course, also proving quite handy. That boot space increases to 1050 litres with the 60:40 backseat folded flat and you can also option a 40:20:40 configuration should you regularly carry longer items.
Audi’s MMI system fronts the infotainment offering with the 7.0-inch screen controlled by a dial at the bottom of the centre console. There is Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The graphics are of excellent quality and the system itself is easy enough to operate once you get used to the dial control. It would be a nice touch if the screen was retractable though.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Our test car, the 1.4TFSI, starts off the range and for $41,100 (plus onroads) you get a turbo-petrol with 110 kW and 250 Nm under the bonnet with drive to the front wheels. The range-topping Quattro 2.0TDI offers up 140 kW and 320 Nm. Both are paired with a highly capable seven-speed automatic transmission.
The four-speed 1.4TFSI uses cylinder-on-demand technology which means that only two cylinders are used during coasting, improving efficiency and fuel consumption. You may know the technology is in action but you won’t notice it with the transition from four cylinders to two and back to four pretty quiet and seamless.
Seven airbags, traction and stability control as well as autonomous emergency braking is amongst the standard fare. An Assistance Package ($1600) will add lane assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and park assist.
The 1.4 TFSI Q2 is an eager, spritely little unit that is eager to please. Built to assimilate to city life, it is no wallflower on highway drives and pretty efficient on secondary roads too.
It is assured and stable in corners, sometimes feeling its SUV height, but generally able to cope with sharp changes of direction and unsignalled bursts of speed. The progressive steering enforces confidence and feels nicely weighted contributing to an engaging, dynamic drive.
It can sometimes be a bit slow to respond off the line, gathering itself for a delayed burst but soon finds it centre with steeper hills presenting a similar challenge.
Grip is excellent despite the absence of quattro all-wheel drive and the brakes need only the gentlest of touches to do their part.
While the Q2 does well over smaller bumps, deeper irregularities with sharper edges are quick to make their presence felt especially around roadworks.
Overall though it presents a fun foray, is easy to manouevre and can be relied upon to turn more than a few heads.
I want to say the seats are supremely comfortable but am caught in two minds there. For front seat passengers, you feel like you are sitting on them rather than in them yet, get adventurous around the twisties and they are able to hold you snug quite easily while longer trips are far from a chore either.
Back seat passengers may feel left with the shorter straw. Two adults can ride in some ease with adequate head and legroom if you are more on the average side but kids will naturally make a better go of it. There are ISOFIX points on the outer seats but no air vents though which seems a bit on the mean side.
The 1.4 TFSI Q2 is fairly well equipped with the gadgetry and technology expected of a luxury offering, even a small one, with MMI Navigation, 7.0-inch colour screen, reverse camera with sensors, 17-inch alloys, auto lights and wipers and leather trim featuring among the niceties. You, will, however, have to hand over more cash for Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Display, heads-up display, electric powered tailgate and LED headlamps.
Fuel efficiency is fair too with our week registering 6.8L/100km, close enough to the official 5.3 L/100 km combined figure to make it seem real-world credible.
Warranty is three years unlimited kilometres with service intervals at 12 months or 15,000 km.
It is easy to believe that the Q2 will be one of Audi’s volume sellers in this country. It combines our growing love of SUVs with city savvy and a premium feel and at a price that will find favour with its target group. Audi has dipped a toe outside its usual norm and the Q2 is shaping up to reward that effort.
Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI
Price: from $41,100 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, FWD
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch auto
Fuel use: 5.3L/100km combined
Safety: Five Star (Euro NCAP)
WHAT WE LIKED:
New extra styling
Relaxed, easy drive
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:
No rear air vents
Limited storage options
Optional extras that should be standard