- Published: Monday, 13 March 2017 15:03
Audi’s Q2 crossover gives the SUV-style obsessed a relatively affordable option with a few compromises
What's a Q2?
The Audi Q2 is the German luxury brand’s new compact crossover/sports utility vehicle (SUV), which seems straightforward enough. It’s small, so it naturally competes with the likes of the increasingly popular BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA right?
Ah! Yeah we, the buying public, love those things. They're like automotive crack! *heavy breathing*
Eh, alright if you say so. But get this: Audi already has had the Q3 small SUV/crossover in its line-up for nigh on a full model life-cycle, and the two even have similar price tags for their respective 1.4-litre offerings -$170,800 with COE for the Q2 and $166,250 for the Q2. They're even similar in terms of size, although the Q3 is 20cm longer, the wheelbase is very similar for both cars.
Harh. So...what's the difference?
Audi’s Q2 marketing blitz uses the paradoxical ‘#untaggable’ as it claims to be anything from a #sportscar to an #allroad and an #SUV. We think this merely engenders #confusion, which we will #unpack here: To suggest some clearer hashtags, the Q2 is classified in Europea as a #B-segment car while the Q3 is a #C-segment car. The Q3 has more space inside, despite the wheelbase similarity, and is expected to grow larger in its next iteration, just like the Volkswagen Tiguan has.
The other difference is looks: The Q2 looks nothing like the Q3, it’s the Mario to the Q3’s low-key Luigi.
Is that what the funny silver bit is for?
Yes. The contrast colour here is silver, seen on the body kit and C-pillar accent, but you can customise it to a large extent (check out Audi’s online configurator on its website) with a contrast coloured bodykit/fenders (the test car doesn’t have this) and also select the colour of the C-pillar accent (silver, grey, white, black).
That’s been done entirely on purpose and the tell-tale signs are many, even if the test car shown here doesn’t illustrate it loudly. The Q2 goes big on square, tall and horizontal lines, as opposed to the typical Audi long, low and oblong. It gives the Q2 a totally outsized road presence and more than one passenger was deceived as to its actual size - it’s actually shorter than an A3 hatch.
How does it drive?
As well as any VW Group MQB car does. MQB is VW's small car platform tech, the latest iteration appearing with the new Mk7.5 Volskwagen Golf.
The quick-responding drivetrain, with 150bhp on tap, delivers a fast 0-100km/h for a crossover (8.1 seconds), and a Q2 driver will probably never feel the car lacking for more pace, although breaching highway limits do draw attention to some wind and road noise.
On the flip side, it’s also the latest 1.4-litre unit, so it comes with active cylinder tech - that is, two cylinders are shut off at low loads to save more fuel, coupled with the usual start-stop and VW Group small-engine frugality. We didn’t approach the quoted figures but achieved 6.5L/100km and better without ever going into Efficiency mode. It handles unobtrusively, as expected it feels more ponderous than a hatchback, the ride is slightly busy, but better than other small German premium crossovers.
That sounds good...
There are some compromises, though. With 400 to 1,050-litres of boot space, the Q2 has slightly more boot space than a VW Golf, but less than the Q3, and rear passenger room isn’t generous - it feels closer to a compact hatch than a crossover in legroom terms, which means five adults is a squeeze, and four just about comfortable. The small windows also make the Q2 feel strangely large when you’re parking.
Interior trim, which includes the front seats, console strip and door handles, comes in red, yellow or silver, is specced to match the body colour too, although the cabin, almost identical to an A3’s, has a less-than-premium feel in some parts and doesn’t have overtly premium features like active instruments, a sunroof or navigation (all cost options).
Funky looks, customisation, big looks-to-size ratio - it’s obvious the Audi Q2 is for the crossover buyer who wants to be seen, and doesn’t want a car of the ‘same sausage’ look typical of a German brand. Thus categorised as smaller and ‘cooler’ (the commas mean it’s up the beholder to judge that) than the Q3, the Q2 finally begins to make sense.
Audi Q2 1.4
Engine 1,395cc, 16V, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 150bhp at 5000-6000rpm
Torque 250Nm at 000rpm
Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch
Top Speed 212km/h
0-100km/h 8.1 seconds
Fuel efficiency 5.4L/100km
Price $165,800 with COE