The AUDI Q2 is the new kid on the block

Audi are adding another to their Q line up and this time, it’s the baby of the bunch. While the other siblings to the hugely popular Q7 look like they could be shrunken Xerox copies, the Q2 sets out wanting to forge its own character. It looks distinctly different with the floating-blade contrast C-pillar, the coupé-like roofline and the chiselled shoulder under the windows. There’s geometry to the design with loads of polygonal elements, be it the large beefy chrome surrounded grill that dominates the front or the headlamps and fog housings. Around the rear too, the taillights extend that symmetry. It’s a sharp looking SUV that will draw your eyes to it.

Once you open the doors and slide inside, you are impressed even more by the quality interior. The dash is similar to the A3 with the circular air-vents and the central infotainment tablet that sits atop it. Audi have given the Q2 their now famous virtual-cockpit all-digital instrument cluster, and the interesting bit is the coloured inlay on the dash that looks even better when lit up at night. Its sporty, sassy and smart on the interior and though this may be the baby of the bunch, it looks a few segments higher.

The Q2 is offered with a variety of engines. There are two petrol offerings – a 1.0-litre TFSI churning out 116hp and a 1.4 TFSI offering 150hp. The diesels options include a 1.6-litre unit producing 116hp and a 2.0-litre unit in two states of tune–150 hp and 190 hp.

We drove the 190hp version of the 2.0-litre which was a good match to the sporty image. It gets off the line smartly and pulls in a clean linear manner. But its real strength is past the 2,000 rpm mark where the meat of the power really kicks in. The 7-speed, S tronic, dual-clutch automatic gearbox is a good match for the engine, swapping cogs smoothly to keep it in the power band. It’s only when you demand a sudden burst of power that the gearbox takes a breath waiting for the engine to get to the right revs before reacting. That hesitation can be countered by using the paddleshifts. Drive in a relaxed manner and the engine readily serves up power and whether you are out cruising on a highway or ambling in urban traffic, it feels comfortable and easy to drive. Refinement is impressive as well, not only from the engine but the overall cabin too. Whether its road sounds or wind noise, it’s all kept out of the cabin effectively.

The 1.4-litre petrol is a refined unit too until you push hard and it gets a bit coarse at high revs. It’s responsive and gets up to the 100kph mark in a respectable 8.5 seconds. It has enough power for overtakes out on the highway or quick nips in and out of traffic, but it’s also an efficient engine, thanks to the fuel-saving cylinder-on-demand tech (where only two cylinders, one and four, work under low load conditions). It doesn’t hamper the way the engine responds and you never feel a shortage of power.

The Q2’s corner carving capabilities makes it agile and feels happy to change direction easily with the nose diving into corners and grip levels are pretty good too. The incessant rain ensured slippery wet roads but the Q2 always felt surefooted. While you definitely enjoy the winding sections of road, it’s not going to get your pulses racing.

What lets it down a bit is the steering, though it’s quick and points the nose exactly where you want, it really doesn’t offer feedback through the front wheels. At higher speeds on the highway, the dead-zone at centre can be a bit disconcerting too.

In India a lot of the people will be more concerned with the back seat and on that front it might disappoint at this price point. But what we have to remember is that the Q2 is even shorter than a Renault Duster in length, considering that it’s only 4190 mm long with a 2600 mm wheelbase. Still two six foot adults can fit one behind the other and that is a good amount of room.

The seats are comfortable and offer good support overall, but the window-line is a bit high and can leave you feeling hemmed in. Although you could fit in 3 people, it would be a tight squeeze. A family of four would be absolutely comfortable and airport runs can be done as well with a good 405-litre boot that can be expanded to 1050 litres with a variety of seat flip down options.

Expected to launch mid next year at a price of Rs 25 to 30 lakh, the Q2 may have to compete with a lot of other larger cars and even its own sibling, the A3. But given the popularity of SUV’s in India and its fresh looks, Audi definitely have a good thing going. Also there is little else like it around in that segment. Add in the fact that the Q2’s interior will give you the feeling of being in a car classes higher and the experience behind the wheel is an enjoyable one. For a small SUV, it’s as good as it gets in terms of performance and luxury. It is something to look forward to.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 6:16:38 AM |

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