What you’re looking at is the fourth SUV in Audi’s current range. Yes, I know SUVs aren’t high up on most petrolhead’s agendas, but the world’s car buyers love ‘em right now, and judging by our drive of the car at the UK’s launch, the Q2 is a strong contender in the world of dinky crossovers.
The range starts at £22,380 for a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol (a £20,230 1.0-litre will sit at the bottom of the range soon), rising to £35,730 for the spangly Edition 1 (above) in 2.0-litre TDI form.
Here’s what impressed us:
We knew a smaller SUV was inbound from Audi for some time, and naturally, we were worried it’d just look like a downsized Q3. After all, much of Audi’s current range has a rather familial aesthetic going on.
This would be a missed opportunity since the Q3 is hardly a striking thing, but fortunately, Audi has gone surprisingly off-piste in the styling department for the Q2.
We’re looking at an angry face, a funky swage line with a big kink in it, and a contrasting C-pillar (available with several different finishes) which sits under a prominent boot spoiler. I rather like it.
The manual gear change
OK, so this isn’t a performance car, but that doesn’t mean a sweet gearchange isn’t something that’s appreciated, especially given the fact many modern manuals are surprisingly naff. And a sweet gearchange the Q2 has.
It’s perhaps lacking in mechanical heft, but it offers up a relatively short and nicely precise shift that’s good enough to tempt me into describing it with a silly word like snickety.
All MQB VAG cars I’ve tried as manuals have had the same great change - it’s something VW Group needs a lot more credit for.
It's actually good fun to drive
Like I said, this is not a performance car, but it is an entertaining thing to hustle along a good road, and not just because of that gear change. It has the steering rack also found in the 297bhp S3, and while I’m not 100 per cent sold on the slightly odd feeling ‘progressive’ nature of it (it’s geared to quicken the ratio the more you turn the wheel), you can’t argue with the speed of it.
The front end is more than grippy enough for most, giving way to predictable and safe understeer if you go a little overboard. Body roll is well contained, and thanks to a pithy weight of just over 1200kg and up for the range (the slightly larger BMW X1 is more like 1600kg), it feels nimble too.
The 148bhp, 1.4-litre turbo petrol we tried is reasonably quick and eager, getting the 0-62mph sprint done in 8.5 seconds. It allegedly returns 54.3mpg combined according to the usual optimistic lab-obtained figures, meanwhile. The 1.6-litre TDI ups that to 64.2mpg, but at the cost of performance - it’ll be brisk enough for most, but feels sluggish and needs over 10 seconds to get to 62mph.
Only front-wheel drive Q2s were available at the car’s UK launch, but the incoming 2.0-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TFSI version will have Quattro four-wheel drive as standard.
Interiors have always been Audi’s strong suit, so unsurprisingly the Q2 has a high-quality, delectably minimalist cabin. Pretty much everything you touch feels nicely expensive, but the kicker here is the customisation options, which allow you to add a welcome splash of colour to the cabin.
Virtual cockpit is awesome
Audi’s awesome virtual cockpit system - which replaces physical dials with a ruddy great screen - continues to trickle down the range, and is available on the Q2. It’s easy to navigate, and beats having to peer over at a screen in the middle of the dashboard.
The not so good bits
It’s not all rosy with the Q2, though. The ride on the ‘sport’ suspension is too choppy, and is only acceptable rather than good on cars without that option.
Standard equipment meanwhile isn’t what you’d call generous, and unsurprisingly that tempting £22k starting price can soon be bumped up with some option ticking. That Virtual Cockpit we love so much is a £1595 option for instance, and on that subject, if you do option it, you still get a screen that pops out of the middle of the dashboard. Isn’t having both a little superfluous?
The Q2 is a strong contender in this corner of the market, even if it hasn’t quite given the competition a massive kicking.
It’s roomier than a Nissan Juke and doesn’t look like it’s been beaten half to death with the ugly stick, and has an opening price that’s a lot lower than the marginally larger BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA.
Want one? It’s available to order now.