Most manufacturers have what you could call a ‘family face’ these days. To some degree I would say Audi has that. Park a few of their models together and you can see the relation. And then there’s the Audi Q2.
It doesn’t quite fit in to the rest of the Audi line up from a styling point of view. For starters its lines are straighter, with the whole car appearing more boxy than other models. This is a bold image, and coupled to some contrasting C pillars and striking exterior colours and you have a very funky car indeed.
Our test car was finished in Vegas Yellow, which is about as striking a colour as you could get. But I like that. Not only could you not lose this Q2 in a car park, but it really turns heads.
Being the S-Line the bumpers are aggressive and sporty. At the back there’s a subtle roof spoiler and twin exhausts. 18-inch alloy wheels fill the arches nicely, without needing super low-profile tyres that would destroy the Q2s claim as a crossover.
Once you look closely, there are some incredible lines on the Audi Q2. My favourite is the split line across the top of the doors. It’s like somebody has sliced away a chunk of the car, but is really effective at broadening the arches in a chunky, rugged sort of way.
There is no question that the Audi Q2 is more expensive than many rivals. But once you climb inside, you can fully appreciate why. The interior of the Q2 is without doubt one of the best in class.
Sports seats greet you as you open the door. In our test car they were finished in the optional fine Nappa leather (a £1,250 extra). Whilst this did make them look, and feel, incredibly high-end, I’m not sure whether this is a requirement: the standard seats in half leather look equally nice.
There are no scratchy plastics to be found, and the build quality is superb. The air vents look like mini jet engines. Brushed aluminium inlays are standard, but our car had the optional LED Interior Light Pack – Advanced, costing £250. This brings illuminated inlays in a really jazzy design with a choice of 10 colours. Naturally I had it set to yellow, and this really brought the funkiness of that Vegas Yellow to the cabin.
The centre console and instrument panel adopts a minimalist approach. You can control many of the functions of the car from the Audi MMI interface, negating the need for buttons everywhere. I like the clean feel to the dashboard and centre console.
The showstopper inside the Audi Q2 is without doubt the Audi Virtual Cockpit (part of the Technology Pack – £1,395). You have to have the flat-bottomed S-Line sports steering wheel at £150, but you would anyway, and this frames the 12.3-inch full-colour instrument cluster. You can choose what you want it to display, from simple dials to a full-size satellite map. It’s great for the driver, but also wows passengers and guests.
There are several engine choices for the Audi Q2, from a 1.0-litre up to a 2.0-litre. Naturally I went for the fastest; the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine. And I’m glad I did: it’s a gem.
Power is 190PS and 320Nm of torque. With a 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox and Quattro four-wheel drive, it simply grips and goes. Gear changes are seamless, acceleration is relentless. 0-62mph takes just 6.5 seconds and the top speed it 141mph.
That puts the Audi Q2 on par with many hot hatches, making it one of the quickest cars in its class. But it goes about its business quietly. Well the engine does; there’ s nothing ‘quiet’ about Vegas Yellow. With such exciting performance a sports exhaust would have heightened the sense of occasion from behind the wheel.
As with many VW-Audi Group vehicles, there are selectable drive modes: Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual; where you can select how you want the steering, engine/gearbox and suspension (if Adaptive Suspension fitted) to behave.
Our test car did have the Adaptive Suspension fitted. It’s an extra £575, but I think it’s a must-have option for the Audi Q2. The various drive modes alter the damping settings, or you an choose for yourself in Individual mode.
Compact SUVs are designed as a do-it-all car for the family, and the adaptive suspension lends itself to this. On a long motorway drive you can have the car comfortable and forgiving. For a B-road blast you can firm it up and minimise body roll.
The steering is direct, and with variable settings can be made heavier to give a sportier feel. And you never have to worry about traction because the Quattro four-wheel drive system is more than capable of handling 190PS.
But it’s the nimbleness that impresses you most with the Audi Q2. Thanks to a reasonably light 1,505kg kerb weight, it feels agile. It changes direction well and, crucially, stops well too. You can have so much fun on the local B-roads that you soon forget this is actually an SUV.
Should you wish to have a more engaging drive, then you can use the paddles behind the steering wheel to change gear (somewhat) manually. Thanks to the instantaneous response from the S-Tronic gearbox, it’s a rewarding endeavor to use the paddles; bringing out the inner racing driver in you.
The Audi Q2 features start/stop technology to save fuel. It also has a pre-set Efficiency drive mode which optimises the engine and gearbox. The 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox in my test car gave it plenty of ratios to choose from.
The result is a car that sips fuel at a rather conservative rate. Combined consumption is a respectable 44.8mpg. Sure, some rivals will offer more than this, but they all have smaller engines that don’t offer the performance of a hot hatch.
Consider this: the 1.0 TFSI Audi Q2 offers up to 55.4mpg, and the 1.6 TDI up to 68.9mpg. But I was more than happy with my 2.0 TFSI because it is a nice blend of performance and economy.
CO2 emissions of 144g/km mean you’ll pay £205 when you buy the car, and £140 in subsequent years. That is assuming you don’t go completely bonkers and take the price above £40,000. It is possible to do, and that would result in an extra £310 surcharge for five years.
In the world of compact SUVs, practicality is the area where ‘compromise’ (or omissions if you’re being a bit more negative) seep in. But not with the Audi Q2.
Given its size, the Q2 does well on interior and luggage space. Adults can sit comfortably in the back, and the family pooch would be happy in the boot. For those bigger family trips you could consider roof bars and a box.
You don’t have to worry about the weather either, thanks to the Quattro four-wheel drive system. Although this isn’t standard across the range, it is a big plus point to have it available. It’s also a point for the Audi Q2, as a lot of rivals don’t have a 4WD option.
So what you have here is a compact SUV that does everything that it should. ‘S’ for sports: the 2.0 TFSI and Adaptive Damping certainly see to that. And ‘U’ for utility: which a spacious cabin and four-wheel drive for tougher conditions.
After spending time with the Audi Q2 I think there is hope for compact SUVs after all. And the size makes it easy to drive and easy to park. You don’t spend all day breathing in every time you need to pass another car, nor do you have to spend half an hour trying to find a suitably large space every time you go to Asda.
Designed to be a car for the whole family, the Audi Q2 has a decent list of equipment. And as compact SUVs have become a bit of a trend, the specification is geared towards the modern family and its technological requirements.
Standard across the range is the Audi Smartphone interface – that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – as well as Bluetooth connectivity. Automatic lights and wipers add a convenience factor, as do cruise control and rear parking sensors. For family safety, Audi Pre-sense Front with pedestrian recognition is also standard on all trim levels.
By the time you step up to the S-Line, there are a few extras goodies on the Audi Q2. These include Audi Drive Select, satellite navigation, LED headlights, LED tail lights and LED interior lighting.
However most of the goodies are optional extras. Increasingly-standard features such as wireless phone charging, keyless entry, reversing camera, auto-fold mirrors and heated seats are all paid options on the Q2. In a market space occupied by the likes of Kia, who load their cars with standard equipment, you may feel aggrieved to pay for things that come standard on a car that costs 50 per-cent less.
Value For Money
The Audi Q2 is one of the more expensive compact SUVs, but with the build quality on offer I can appreciate that you do, to a degree, get what you pay for.
The range starts at £22,440 on the road. For the TFSI S-Line S-Tronic you’re at £32,840. And you do get a sufficient amount of equipment to be able to say that you get a fair amount of car for the money.
The problem here lies in the sheer volume of available extras. Some of these are essential (such as the Technology Pack with Audi Virtual Cockpit), and many others are tempting. But this is a dangerous game because the price creeps up and up.
Our test car had a whopping £4,840 of optional extras on it, taking the price to £38,680 which sends the Audi Q2 way out from its rivals. At that price point you can get some proper SUVs, making the Q2 a bit of a hard sell.
On the one hand, extras allow you to customise exactly what you want on your car. You don’t have to pay for features you don’t want or need. But when you see the sheer amount available, it’s hard not to feel like you aren’t getting value from the standard specification.
Facts and Figures
|Engine||2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol|
|Max power||190PS at 4,200rpm|
|Max torque||320Nm at 1,500rpm|
|Drivetrain||7-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox, Quattro four-wheel drive|
|Fuel tank size||55 litres|
|Fuel consumption||44.8mpg, combined cycle|
|Towing capacity||1,700kg braked / 750kg unbraked|
|Luggage capacity||355 litres|
|NCAP rating||5 stars|
|Price as tested||£38,680|