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Audi’s smallest SUV is no pushover

S Muralidhar | Updated on March 10, 2018

Packing a punch Despite the crossover feel, the Q2’s performance is powerful. - S MURALIDHAR

Packing a punch Despite the crossover feel, the Q2’s performance is powerful. - S MURALIDHAR

Classy cabin The interiors feel familiar and have a luxurious aura around them

The Q2’s design is a big departure from the current design language of Audi’s SUVs.

Audi Q2

Q2 has its own unique presence and pluses despite the compact proportions. - S MURALIDHAR

It’s not exactly cute, but the Q2 has its own unique presence and pluses despite the compact proportions

Despite many of its models looking very similar, Audi manages to give each of them a fairly distinct position in its lineup. But, there is definitely scope for more differentiators in design and visual cues amongst some of its sedans and SUVs. And with its sports utility vehicles remaining so popular, a double booster shot in that category would be welcome. One of them is coming in the form of the new 2018 Q5 next month. But, one other addition that I would like to see next year would be the Q2, Audi’s baby SUV that almost looks like a hatch on stilts.



Design



The Audi Q2 is the youngest and smallest sports utility from the German luxury car brand. It’s not as cute or funky as the MINI Countryman, though in terms of proportions and premium positioning, the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Countryman will all be squarely in the Q2’s frame. Along with the A3, the Q2 can make the perfect pair of entry models in Audi’s India offerings.

The Q2’s design is a big departure from the current design language of Audi’s SUVs. So it almost has nothing in common on the outside with its bigger siblings, except the high shoulder line. Many of the main features such as the rectangular headlamps and the near-square tail-lamps almost look like they have been heavily influenced by parent Volkswagen’s design. It is only when the Q2 is viewed from the side that its profile stands out as Audi’s, especially with the high shoulder line, the chiselled tail gate and the broad C-pillar that can be customised in a variety of finishes in the Q2. It is more crossover than SUV if you were to consider its compact proportions. At first glance, with the Q2 only being about 4.2-metre long and its height of just over 4.5 feet, it would be easily mistaken for a hatch. But, its wide track and stance thanks to a 1.8-metre width, and the large wheel arches crowned by body-coloured cladding and featuring rim sizes upto 18-inches, give it the necessary visual heft to convince you that it is a compact SUV.

A new bonnet grille with the four rings in the centre cuts deep into the front fender. A large airdam outlined by matt aluminium trim and faux scoops add to the aggressive looks at the front. The roofline is tapered at the rear just adding that touch of crossover feel to the Q2. This compact, entry SUV from Audi is also based on the Volkswagen group’s MQB platform — shared by the Audi A3, TT and upcoming Q3; in addition to a number of VW models.



Cabin



The platform sharing also transforms into parts sharing when you step into the Q2 and are greeted by a familiar cabin. It certainly smells and feels like an Audi cabin. Double stitched leather seats, the 5.8-inch MMI display at the top of the centre stack, the virtual cockpit display behind the wheel and the driver-focused cockpit. There is a dash of colour sprinkled around the cabin with strips of trim sporting body paint, including on the centre console. There is the typical attention to detail, albeit the electrical gear and the other trim elements are simpler, more compact and more intuitive.

Availability of some of the features including the virtual cockpit display may depend on the trim level chosen. The cabin feels well lit and is actually surprisingly roomy for an SUV in this size class, but much of that must be attributable to the wide track of the Q2. Accommodating three adults at the rear would still be a problem, though two adults can be seated comfortably. Even with the seats set higher than in Audi’s sedans, there is enough headroom. The Q2’s tail gate hides a 405-litre boot that can be expanded to over 1,000-litres with the rear seats folded.



Performance



The Q2 I was test driving a few weeks ago in Dubai was the 35 TFSI, Audi’s nomenclature for the 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine and its state of tune. This 1,395 cc, in-line four-cylinder, fuel-injected and turbocharged engine produces 150 PS of peak power and 250 Nm of peak torque in the Q2. With a kerb weight of just 1,205 kg, the Q2 is quite a light vehicle and the powertrain felt more than adequate especially since the transmission in my test mule was the seven-speed S-tronic DSG automatic. The specs sheet placed in my Q2 claimed that the 0 to 100 kmph run could be done in 8.5 seconds and the top speed was a claimed 208 kmph.

The Q2 is offered with four other engine options including the fabulous straight-three, one-litre TFSI, a two-litre TFSI, and in diesel — a 1.6 TDI and a 2.0 TDI. The standard fitment transmission option is the six-speed manual and the DSG auto is optional, as is the Quattro AWD drivetrain, except in the top-of-the-line two-litre petrol and diesel engine variants in which both of these are standard.

The Q2’s on-road dynamics are very close to a hatch’s. With a fairly rigid suspension, there is almost no body roll and the wide track gives it a squat, well-planted feel on the road even at three-digit speeds. The stiff setting for the suspension could be an issue on bad roads, but driving on smooth tarmac in and around Dubai meant that I couldn’t experience any of that. The steering setting is biased towards easy manoeuvrability in city driving, but it weighs up nicely at higher speeds on the highway. Feedback and feel though is not in the same league as some of Audi’s sportier models.

Bottomline

The web is agog with rumours and spy shots of what is being claimed to be the SQ2, with the 300 bhp S3 engine in its bonnet.

Whether this piping hot new compact SUV makes it to India is anybody’s guess. But, the Q2 is already a perfect fit for Audi in India and, in my view, should be here in 2018. It will also help deepen Audi’s portfolio here and offer more choice for its customers in the ₹40 lakh +/- segment.

I would venture out and say that Audi should bring in top trim variants of the Q2 with the mid-spec petrol and diesel powertrains.

Published on December 28, 2017

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