Audi entered the premium compact SUV segment when it launched its Q2 early in 2017. Initially there were two models in the line-up: a 2WD 1.4 TFSI S tronic design and an AWD 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic sport. Audi has now added a third model to the line-up, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, called the Q2 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic sport.
What is the Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI S tronic sport?
The Audi Q2 is a compact, premium SUV that’s loaded with safety and convenience features. The smallest of the Audi Q line-up, the Q2 has sporty styling with a tapered roofline and what Audi calls “a striking polygonal design”. It certainly has a funky and youthful look, but not the edgy styling of, say, a Hyundai Kona or Toyota C-HR.
The latest Q2 to join the line-up is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is mated to a seven-speed double-clutch transmission and Audi’s on-demand quattro all-wheel drive system.
The Q2 is squarely aimed at couples, usually without kids, and Audi says that there is a slightly higher ratio of female buyers, but the split between men and women is close to 50:50.
This latest 2.0 TFSI variant of the Q2 is the performance flagship but it’s priced in between the 1.4 TFSI and 2.0 TDI models. The base price for the 2.0 TFSI is $45,800. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, satnav, smartphone interface, two-zone air conditioning, AEB with pedestrian detection, cruise control, rear view camera and parking aid, and LED headlights and tail lights.
There is a long options list, which includes safety, comfort and technology packages, as well as variable dampers, larger diameter wheels and premium exterior styling features. Tick a few options boxes and the price for the Q2 2.0 TFSI S tronic sport can easily exceed $60k plus on-road costs.
What’s the interior like?
The interior design of the cabin is funky and edgy. The dark leather trim on the test vehicle is contrasted by bright red highlights on the dash, centre console and door trims. The easily adjustable round air vents look a bit retro and all of the controls are well positioned and easy to read. There’s a centrally positioned rotary dial to operate the satnav and smartphone interface, which is displayed on a prominently positioned high-resolution widescreen display on the dash. The leather trim is premium stuff, and the rest of the cabin materials and switchgear are top-notch. Yep, Audi has nailed the interior design of the Q2.
The test vehicle is also equipped an optional $2500 Technik package, which includes Audi virtual cockpit, which is a configurable instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch high resolution colour display, MMI (Multi Media Interface) navigation plus and a multi-function leather steering wheel with a flat bottom edge and gearshift paddles.
Up front, the driver and passenger seats offer good comfort, support and adjustment range, but there’s no electric assistance for fore/aft/rake adjustment, which means no seat memory. Likewise, the steering wheel has manual adjustment for rake and reach.
There are a couple of cup holders in the centre console and one each in each front door. USB outlets are located in the centre console and under the armrest
Audi says the Q2 is predominantly aimed at couples that are less likely to have children than buyers of other Audi Q models. Just as well, as there’s not a lot of space in the back seat, despite the inclusion of two ISOFIX anchor points. The two outer positions offer a comfortable seat, but there’s not much room for adult-size legs and feet, and the centre position seems to be more of an afterthought than a proper seat. Getting in and out of the back seat is a bit of a chore too, as you have to climb over the prominent wheel arch. Despite the tapered roofline, there’s reasonable headroom in the back.
The cargo area is small with the rear seats in use, but it expands markedly with those seats folded down. The back seat has a 60/40 split and access to the cargo area is via a powered tailgate.
Additional features on the test vehicle include Audi’s $1900 Comfort package (consisting electric lumbar adjustment, heated seats, keyless entry, heated mirrors and additional power outlets and storage compartments/nets), a $550 DAB+ Digital radio and $500 premium sound system.
What’s it like on the road?
While the 2.0 TFSI sits in the middle of the Q2 range in terms of price, it’s the performance flagship of the line-up. The 1984cc direct-injection turbocharged engine is a detuned version of the powerplant used in the VW Golf GTi and, while it punches out a relatively modest 140kW and 320Nm, overall performance is impressive; Audi claims a 6.5 second 0-100km/h time for the Q2 2.0 TFSI, compared to 8.1 seconds for the 2.0 TDI and 8.5 seconds for the 1.4 TFSI.
While there can be a little lag down low, the engine delivers in spades once revs climb into the midrange. The engine is well mated to the seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, which delivers almost seamless shifts at partial throttle on the open road. The gearshifts don’t always feel quite as smooth as a full auto transmission in stop-start traffic, but shift quality is pretty good.
The engine and transmission combination is well suited to highway touring, and relatively tall overall gearing results in a relaxed 1700rpm showing on the tacho at 100km/h in top gear. This no doubt contributes to the claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.5L/100km, which is impressive for a 2.0-litre petrol engine hauling around a 1430kg SUV.
Also contributing to fuel economy is an innovative combustion method that allows for shorter compression and longer expansion phases on partial throttle. Audi says the shortened compression phase means the engine only has to compress as much fuel as the 1.4 TFSI, but in the expansion phase “it profits from a higher compression ratio to fully utilise its two litres of displacement”.
The Q2’s suspension is definitely on the sporty side. The ride is firm and body roll is well controlled when cornering, which is great when you’re driving with intent on smooth roads, but it certainly feels a little harsh on rough bitumen. The Q2 tested is equipped with optional $2100 19-inch sport alloy wheels shod with 235/40R19 Bridgestone Potenzas; the standard 18-inch rims with 215/55 R18 tyres would likely provide more compliance over bumps and potholes.
Adaptive dampers would also soften up the ride on crook roads; they are a $1500 option on Q2 and if you tick this box you’ll also get Audi drive select, which allows tailoring of the suspension, engine response, transmission, steering and other various parameters.
Despite the firm ride, the Q2 offers loads of grip thanks to its clever quattro all-wheel drive system, which not only diverts torque to both axles when slip is detected, but also when it detects steering input. On the twisty gravel-road section of the test loop, the Q2’s quattro system ensured there was no wheel spin under acceleration and it provided confident handling when pushing through tight corners.
The Q2 is equipped with Audi’s electromechanical progressive steering system, which provides speed-dependent power assistance. This means the steering is light when manoeuvring around town but heavier when driving at speed. On the open road the steering certainly feels nicely weighted and responsive.
What safety features does it get?
The Q2 has been awarded a five-star ANCAP rating and it comes loaded with active and passive safety features, including ESC with torque vectoring, Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) with ABS, ASR and EDL, tyre pressure loss indicator, and the full complement of front, side and curtain airbags.
Audi’s ‘pre sense city (AEB)’ system is also standard on the Q2 and it can initiate hard braking at low speeds if it detects a pedestrian in front of the vehicle, or when it detects critical situations with other vehicles.
The test vehicle was also optioned with a $990 Assistance package, which incorporates adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, blind spot lane change warning, high-beam assist, hill hold assist and park assist, the latter helping to steer the vehicle into parallel or perpendicular parking spots.
The optional Assistance package also includes ‘traffic jam assist’, which is essentially Level 2 autonomy that operates from 0-65km/h. When activated, sensors around the vehicle detect other vehicles and road markings, creating a virtual path, and then guiding the Q2 with gentle steering actions, and maintaining a safe distance to the vehicle in front by automatically applying the brakes and accelerating.
So, what do we think of the Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI S tronic sport?
With a starting price of $48,500, the Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI is definitely at the upper end of the compact SUV price scale, and that’s without adding optional extras. With its options the test vehicle costs $59,240 plus on-road costs, which is a substantial price tag for a small vehicle. Having said that, the Q2 2.0 TFSI’s nearest competitor, the Mini Cooper S Countryman, is at a similar price point, retailing for $47,200… and that’s without all-wheel drive.
The Q2 is certainly loaded with tech, especially when optioned with the Assistance, Technik and Comfort packages, so for those who want it all in their compact SUV, and who really don’t need a large vehicle, the Q2 could be just the ticket. It’s a funky vehicle with good performance, good handling and it’s packed with safety and convenience features.
What’s the interior like? 4/5
What’s it like on the road? 4/5
What about safety features? 5/5
The Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic sport is aimed squarely at couples that want a compact SUV with the lot. It’s small but it’s loaded with equipment so, if you don’t have kids, it hits the mark.
Price: From $48,500+ORC
Warranty: three years, unlimited kilometres
Service Intervals: 15,000km/12 months
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol
Power: 140kW at 4200-6000rpm
Torque: 320Nm at 1500-4200rpm
Transmission: seven-speed S tronic
Drive: quattro all-wheel drive
Dimensions: 4191mm (L); 1794mm (W); 1508mm (H); 2595mm (WB)
Turning Circle: 11.1m
Boot Space: 355L/1000L
Ground Clearance: 147mm
Spare: space-saver standard
Fuel Tank: 55 litres
Words Dean Mellor
Photos Audi Australia