2017 Audi Q2 Review
Isaac Bober’s first drive 2017 Audi Q2 Review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: The Q2 is Audi’s first compact SUV and it’s nailed the look, size, shape, engine and drivetrain spec.
2017 Audi Q2
Pricing From $41,100+ORC Warranty three years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety 5 star EuroNCAP Engine 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol; 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel Power 110kW at 5000-6000rpm; 110kW at 3500-4000rpm Torque 250Nm at 1500-3000rpm; 340Nm at 1750-3000rpm Transmission seven-speed S tronic Drive two-wheel drive; quattro all-wheel drive Dimensions 4191mm (L); 1794mm (W); 1508mm (H) Ground Clearance 147mm Boot Space 355 litres Spare space-saver standard Fuel Tank 55 litres Thirst 5.0-5.3L/100km (depending on variant)
AUDI IS MAKING a rapid march into the SUV segment with just about all segments now covered thanks to the arrival this week of the compact Q2 Down Under. The Q7 was first to market, followed by the Q5, Q3 and now Q2.
It’s odd to think that prior to 2006 (and the launch of the first-generation Q7) Audi didn’t have a single SUV in its line-up. There was just the A6 Allroad, which goes to show just how fast the market has changed and how quickly some car makers have changed with it.
Even before the Q2 has officially gone on sale, Audi says it’s already got 700 orders, with many of those as paid orders, in the pipeline. The German car maker will add a more-powerful petrol variant to the local line-up later this year.
So, for now there are two models available to buy, a front-drive only petrol variant, and a quattro all-wheel drive diesel variant. Pricing is $41,100+ORC for the 2WD petrol model called S Design, and $47,900+ORC for the diesel variant, called Sport.
What is it?
The new Q2 is a compact premium SUV and while the compact SUV segment is booming and becoming ever more crowded (Toyota’s C-HR has just arrived Down Under), Audi believes its Q2 will stand out because of its quality, design, equipment and safety list.
According to Audi’s local communications boss Anna Burgdorf, “[The Q2] is the next chapter in the Q family […] we don’t often have the chance to launch an entirely new car for Audi, but that what the Q2 is, and we are excited to bring this new model to Australia.
The Q2 heralds the start of a new design language for Audi SUVs, debuting the brands new polygonal design. Look at the new front grille and the shape of the headlights and it’s obvious how different the Q2 looks from its Q siblings.
And, one design element the brand is particularly proud of is the polygonal shape running down the side of the vehicle. If you have even the slightest interest or understanding of metal work, you’ll know just how difficult it would have been to achieve that shape in the metal of the Q2 and ensure its seamless integration across three separate sections of sheet metal.
The Q2 measures 1.51 metres tall and 1.79 metres wide and is 4.19 metres long with a wheelbase of 2.60 metres. It has 147mm of ground clearance. Audi wasn’t able to provide approach, departure, breakover and wading depths at the local launch (we’ll update this part of the review when we’ve received that data). The front-drive petrol variant weighs, without the driver, 1280kg.
In terms of who will be buying the Q2, Audi reckons it’s likely to be a 50:50 split between men and women, and that the age is likely to be less than 49, who place a value on technology, and the Q2 gets plenty of that.
Like other Audi models, there’s a long list of cost optional extras from unique paint colours, wheel designs (nine of them), an array of interior material choices, active safety features, wireless phone chargers, damper control and more. Don’t think that suggests the Audi Q2 is under-done in the spec department, because it isn’t.
What’s it like inside?
Let’s start with the boot, for a change. For such a small car, the Q2’s packaging is spot on and that’s instantly noticeable in the boot, which offers 355 litres of storage space with the rear seats up, and 1050 litres with them folded down and loaded to the roof (which you would never do). There’s one-metre of space between the wheel arches, and the floor, unless you’ve opted for the cost-optional sound system and full-size spare, offers two levels, meaning you can leave the floor flat and hideaway things beneath it. I like the fact the boot floor can be lifted up and catches on two little hooks, making it easy to retrieve the spare tyre… most cars require the total removal of the boot floor.
Owners planning on driving long distances out of the city will likely want to fit the cost-optional full-size spare which will mean the floor will not be able to be lowered, and the same applies if you add the cost-optional sound system which sees the subwoofer located in the boot beneath the floor. A powered tail-gate is a cost option and the load lip is just 74cm off the ground.
The rear seats are a standard 60:40 split and can be dropped via a lever on the seat back. A 40:20:40 split fold is available as a cost-option ($450) and if you’re regularly carrying things in the car then it would be worth considering as it makes for a more versatile and practical interior. There are two ISOFIX mounts on the outboard seats and top tether points on all three seats.
The back seats are comfortable, and despite the tiny-tot dimensions, there’s a decent amount of room in the back with entry and exit easy. Indeed, I’m as close to six-foot tall as it’s possible to be and I didn’t bump my head getting in or out and had plenty of head, shoulder and legroom when seated.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s no rear air vents in the back, not even as a cost option, but the car is only small and I’d suggest it’s dual-zone climate control would be good enough as to negate the need for them. As standard, there are no rear charging outlets, although these are available as cost options, and there are no map pockets on the back of the front seats. The door bins will hold a 500ml water bottle.
The middle seat is more of a perch but the transmission tunnel isn’t particularly intrusive, although the centre console juts into the back, meaning adults would only want to sit there for short journeys.
In the front and the Q2 offers the feeling of being sat in one of Audi’s larger cars, just a bit smaller. The quality of the interior is first-rate with soft-touch plastics everywhere and, even where it’s not soft, it’s finely grained with a matt finish that feels good on the fingers.
The seats are excellent, even in the entry-level two-wheel drive variant. Our day of driving took in highways around Melbourne, twisty stuff in the hills and even some not-so-well-graded, slipper dirt roads. I arrived back at the airport for my flight home feeling as fresh as I had when I’d climbed into the Q2 that morning, so I’d suggest the seats will hold up to longer distance driving nicely. They also do a good job of keeping you in place when pushing a little harder in the corners, not that I expect buyers of the Q2 to be using it as a corner carver.
The Q2 gets, as standard, analogue instruments which I’m assuming will be good (our test cars only had the excellent Audi Virtual Cockpit fitted). This is a 12.3-inch screen that replaces the analogue dials, allowing the driver to toggle between views of virtual dials, to a view dominated by navigation and infotainment.
There are two levels of MMI controls in the Q2, with the top-spec being MMI Touch (this was fitted to the cars at the launch – pictured above). MMI Touch allows for you to control infotainment and navigation via a touch-sensitive dial on the centre console (you can use your finger to write letters when inputting a destination), or touch the screen, something you can’t do with the entry level MMI system. As good as MMI Touch is, the entry-level MMI unit is very good, indeed, one of the best systems on the market.
What’s it like on the road?
I got to drive both the petrol and the diesel engines at the launch and, while the petrol is a strong little engine, my pick is the diesel. That said, if you live in town and would only be driving the Q2 for short bursts around said town, then go with the petrol because it’ll be more efficient in those situations than the diesel. And not just because its lighter. Moving on.
The 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine offers cylinder on demand, which means it’ll shut down two of the four cylinders when coasting. Output is 110kW and 250Nm of torque from 1500-3500rpm. I’d hazard a guess and say the thing deactivated two of its cylinders on our run down the highway, but so quiet is it, and so well controlled is engine vibration, that I wasn’t aware. It reactivates the two shut-down cylinders as soon as you apply pressure on the throttle.
The transmission is a seven-speed DSG, or S tronic in Audi-speak. Fuel consumption is 5.3L/100km and CO2 emissions are just 122g/km.
Away from the highway, the petrol engine offers good pick-up and seems well matched to the transmission. My only criticism is that the throttle response feels a little delayed, but that’s only noticeable when pushing the car harder than most people will in tight and twisting corners.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel makes 110kW and 340Nm of torque from 1750-3000rpm and gets quattro all-wheel drive as standard. It runs the same seven-speed DSG (S tronic) as the petrol variant.
It’s worth noting that the all-wheel drive system on the Q2 isn’t a ‘permanent’ system like on other quattro models which feature a mechanical centre coupling, and isn’t an on-demand system like other makers offer. Instead, it’s the latest generation Haldex multi-plate clutch set-up that sees the Q2 act like a front-driver when cruising on the freeway, for efficiency reasons, but begin shuffling torque and drive to the rear as soon as it detects steering input (in a maximum 50:50 split). This means, in a nutshell, when cornering or at times when the system detects conditions are becoming worse, the Q2 is an all-wheel drive. Meaning it’s not a system that’s only activated when slip is detected, like so many others are. Make sense?
In the corners, the two Q2 variants feel like chalk and cheese. The 2WD Q2 is predictable and stable, but the diesel, quattro variant feels much more playful and driver-oriented. But that’s as much to do with the fact both variants run different rear suspension set-ups, a torsion beam rear for the petrol and a multi-link rear for the diesel.
Both variants offer a firm suspension set-up but don’t misread that as ‘hard’. I mean, firm as in good lateral control and excellent body control, on both 2WD and quattro variants. This means, there’s excellent grip levels, even for the 2WD variant. Indeed, driven enthusiastically on dirt with the intention of provoking understeer proved tricky, such is the effectiveness of the brake traction control which will brake the inside wheel, causing the car to tuck back in towards the corner.
Then there’s the steering. For too long, Audi’s steering engineers seemed to be cramming cotton wool into the thing so disconnected did it feel. But that’s no longer the case. The steering on this Q2 which features Audi’s progressive steering tune is nicely weighted, er, progressive and consistent in its action, no matter the speed, and with just enough feel that you can steer to confidently on the tightest of roads.
In all, the new Q2, no matter the variant (although the quattro is the pick in the handling department) offers excellent grip, good body control and excellent bump absorption with good noise suppression. It really is a lot of fun.
What about safety features?
The new Q2 comes with a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating, and Audi expects ANCAP to apply a similar rating. As standard, the Q2 comes with seven airbags as well as autonomous emergency braking, as well as traction and stability controls, and quattro all-wheel drive, there’s a light and rain sensor to activate headlights and windscreen wipers, but hill-hold assist is part of the Assistance Package. Parking sensors at the front and rear are standard, as is a reversing camera.
If you want to up the safety features of your Q2 then you’ll need to go for the Assistance System which offers adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, blind spot detection, high-beam assist, hill-hold, park assist and rollover sensor. It adds $1600 to the sticker price.
Why would you buy one?
Well, right now, that’s an easy answer… because it’s kind of all alone in the segment. But, in the next few weeks the Q2 will be joined by Mini’s bigger, reinvigorated Countryman which might give this thing a run for its money.
That aside, the Q2 makes sense for those looking for something that rides a little higher than a hatch, gets plenty of good tech and safety features, looks great, is good to drive and comfortable. And, its price point of mid-$40k means it’s not totally out of reach of those who might be willing to stretch from, say, a top-spec Mazda CX-2… the Q2 would eat the Mazda in just about every way imaginable.