Audi’s baby-SUV is finally here, priced from £20,230 with five engines and three trims. We’ve driven it to see what it’s like
What do we have here?
Audi welcomes the fourth SUV model to its range with the launch of the Q2, and it immediately becomes the infant of the bunch, sitting below the Q3, Q5 and Q7.
It’s the first time in five-years that Audi has entered a vehicle into a new segment and the Q2 is its first foray into the compact-SUV sector, claiming to be the first luxury offering in the class, although, Mercedes with the GLA and Infiniti with its Q30 might have a different view. Other rivals for the Q2 come thick and fast from the popular Nissan Juke to the upcoming Honda C-HR.
Styling for the Q2 is unique within the brand, with squared-off head and taillights, a large chunky grille, low roofline and a C-blade (or c-pillar) which are available in grey, silver, black and white. It also gets contrasting colours on the lower front bumpers, side skirts and wheel arches.
Available in three trim levels, SE, Sport and S Line, the Q2 gets five powertrains and can be specified with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox, and finally front or four-wheel drive.
To read in detail about the other engines and specifications available for the Q2, then simply click here.
We’re testing the model that Audi expects to be the most popular, the 1.4-litre petrol in Sport trim fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. Sport trim gets 17in alloy wheels, front sports seats, light and rain sensors and cruise control. Our car came fitted with optional leather seats, red metallic paint, LED headlights, driver information system and comfort pack and tipped the scales at £28,655 (inc £4,725 optional extras).
The Q2 is sized between the A1 Sportback and A3 Sportback but is priced between the A3 and Q3. So, are you paying more for less?
How does it drive?
Driving the Q2 is a familiar experience to driving many other Audis, meaning it’s easy to simply jump in and head off.
The 1.4-litre four-cylinder TFSI engine under the squared-off bonnet develops 148bhp and184lb ft of torque. It features on-demand cylinder technology, meaning that up to half its cylinders can be shut off when not needed to improve efficiency.
You’d never know this was happening though as the engine is smooth and responsive, although it needs to be in the right power band to deliver its optimum performance. Below 2,000rpm, there’s a hesitation and delay to get going but once the rev counter needle passes that threshold, the Q2 takes off.
It’ll rev freely from 2,000 to just north of 6,000rpm with a consistent and meaningful surge, and this is true through most gears, although sixth-gear takes a little longer. This translates to a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds.
Despite the cylinder on demand, small engine and the manufacturer claims of a mighty 52.3mpg on a combined cycle, we got an underwhelming 36mpg over a 45-mile route.
Even with this car’s sports suspension, the ride is compliant and it’s well damped, meaning it is comfortable. You do get a slight ‘thud’ from the very worst road imperfections but it’s not enough to diminish the ride quality.
A comfy ride, however, doesn’t mean it’s sloppy to drive. Far from it. The Q2 has a slight initial shift of weight as you turn into the corner, then stays flat and true for the remainder. The steering is consistent in its feel and well-weighted, if on the lighter side of life, and it’s accurate and keen to turn in. Add to that oodles of grip and the Q2 becomes a fun car to drive, chuckable in fact due to its lightweight construction.
There’s no road or suspension noise but there is some wind buffeting, and the engine at lower speeds can be heard to make a little metallic sound when the throttle is slightly engaged.
What's it like inside?
Due to a low roofline, not overly high ride height and a low-set dashboard, it feels more Audi hatchback than SUV to drive and sit in.
The dash design is similar to the A3 with toggle buttons, classy heating controls and a simple and clean design. There’s a coloured trim running through the centre of the dash, which actually splits the higher quality materials and soft touch plastics above, from harder plastics below.
A 7.0in infotainment screen projects from the top of the dash as standard with its controls between the seats.
In the front, there’s plenty of head and shoulder room, which provides the feeling that you are in a much larger car. Storage space, however, is average to poor with small door bins and a small cubby under the central armrest.
The front seats are comfortable and supportive with plenty of seat adjustment. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and tilts meaning most should find a comfortable driving position.
Get in the back though and space is more at a premium, although, the seats are comfortable. Leg, knee and head room is sufficient but anyone approaching six feet tall will certainly feel the pinch. Storage space is limited to small door pockets.
The boot is a hatch type rather than traditional SUV tailgate. It has a high lip due to the design of the chunky rear bumpers, making loading heavier items trickier. There is however only a small boot lip, while the boot floor is flat and rectangular, with enough to take a large suitcase. The floor can be lowered for more space.
The Q2 1.4-litre petrol is claimed to return 52.3mpg on a combined cycle, although we only managed 36mpg over a 45-mile route.
CO2 emissions for this model are 124g/km, meaning road tax for a year will cost £110 and company car users face a 21% BIK banding.
The Q2 qualifies for a middle of the road 18E-T1 insurance grouping.
Servicing is required every 19,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first.
Audi continues to offer its stingy three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
There is little doubt that the Q2 will sell in bucket loads for those who are willing to pay a premium for the four-ring badged car.
It is easy to see why too. It’s well made, has all the mod-cons of more luxurious models, is stylish and not only comfortable but also entertaining to drive.
What is most refreshing with the Q2 is that Audi has departed from its copycat styling to produce something truly individual and head turning.
Whether £23,930 is value for money is down to the buyers desire for the Q2 but just consider that a similar spec’d Mini Countryman demands a premium while the equivalent Mercedes-Benz GLA is £2,700 more expensive.