Audi made a colorful splash when it introduced its Q2 small SUV at the start of 2017 and now, to cap the year off it’s filled out the range with a more powerful 2.0 TFSI variant.
With cars like the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Mini Countryman in its sights, and more uber-cool compact SUVs coming soon with the BMW X2 and Volvo XC40, Audi is hoping to make its mark with youthful styling and high-tech features.
Vehicle Style: Prestige Small SUVPrice: $48,500 plus on-road costs
Engine/trans: 140kW/320Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol | 7spd automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 6.5 l/100km
For now the Q2 2.0 TFSI quattro sport (yes, that’s its full name, and it’s quite a mouthful) sits as the range-topper of the Q2 family, priced from $48,500 plus on road costs.
Beneath it sit the entry-level front-drive petrol and mid-spec all-wheel drive diesel, which cost $41,100 and $47,900 (plus on-roads) respectively.
To set it apart, the new variant comes equipped with a bigger, more powerful 2.0-litre turbo petrol four cylinder and channels the extra grunt to the ground through Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The mechanical package is just part of the upgrade though, with the 2.0 TFSI quattro sport adding features like LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather-appointed interior trim, dual-zone climate control and a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen to set it apart.
- Standard Equipment: Leather trim and leather-wrapped steering wheel, front sports seats, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights/wipers, electric tailgate, 18-inch alloy wheels
- Infotainment: 7.0-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth phone and audio, eight speaker audio, USB and SD card inputs
- Cargo Volume: 405 litres seats up, 1050 litres seats down
Though it may be compact, the Q2’s boxy design helps free up interior space including plenty of headroom for all occupants, adequate legroom in the back for small families and a boot big enough to handle most duties.
Like the A3 on which it shares its fundamentals, the dashboard layout is both funky to look at and functional to use with good small item storage and the latest in connectivity.
It looks genuinely premium when fitted with Audi’s optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the multi-coloured ambient lighting that hides behind some of the trim elements adds a splash of colour to the cockpit.
There’s also a Technik Pack ($2500) that bundles together the fully-digital instrument cluster, higher-grade sat nav with Google Earth view and a flat-bottom steering wheel with shift paddles while a Comfort Pack ($1900) brings full keyless entry and push button start, heated front seats, electric seat adjustment and additional storage solutions.
The options list doesn’t stop there either, with two exterior packages, optional adaptive dampers, lowered sports suspension, a selection of alloy wheel choices and a range of personalisation options for the inside and outside of the car.
On the safety front, it has automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, six airbags and basic electronic driving aids.
It can be optioned with additional features as part of the $990 Assistance Package that brings adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, active lane assist, blind spot monitoring, semi-automated parking and the AEB threshold is raised to 200km/h.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 140kW/340Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
- Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, all wheel drive
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front, four-link independent rear
- Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes
- Steering: Electric power steering
As the flagship engine of the Q2 range the 2.0 TFSI is tuned to produce a somewhat conservative 140kW and 320Nm, putting it 30kW ahead of either the 1.4 petrol and 2.0 diesel engines also available, and just 20Nm shy of the diesel’s peak torque.
Official combined average fuel consumption is rated at 6.5L/100km, and when pressed into action the Q2 2.0 TFSI quattro should be able to sprint to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds.
Out in the real world, the larger engine doesn’t feel appreciably different against the 1.4-litre in the lower-grade model when driven sedately, a symptom of the seven-speed transmission’s rush to pick the highest gear possible early to save fuel.
Dig deeper into its power reserves though and you’ll uncover a stronger surge in the mid-range and a fizzier top-end when you really rev it out.
When you do so, on the right stretch of road, the Q2 is quite a fun and engaging little car to drive. While it sits higher than a conventional hatchback, it’s neither as tall or top-heavy as a larger SUV, which means it slices through the corners with less body roll and more precision.
The taut suspension settings also contribute to its excellent body control, but it can feel a little jiggly over rough surfaces and there’s some impact harshness on big bumps.
The quattro all-wheel drive system does, however, provide a safety net of security on loose surfaces, working invisibly with the well-calibrated electronic stability system to offer excellent traction.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
When it comes to prestige brands there’s always the lingering question of value. Badge cachet accounts for some of the cost, but there still needs to be a sense of quality, luxury and some kind of X-factor to provide justification.
The Q2 certainly imparts a feeling of quality, and puts a fresh modern twist on luxury. The design ensures X-factor is present too, but costing $7000 more than the base model the 2.0 TFSI struggles to make a clear case for buying the flagship version.
While it is tangibly better than the base-model, it’s not a quantum leap ahead of what is a brilliant, but already expensive, little city SUV.