Driven by design

The second generation Audi Q2 and all-new SQ2 models arrive in Australia.

The new Audi Q2 models have arrived Down Under, bringing more performance and equipment in this design driven model than ever before – including the addition of an S model for the first time.

Ian Dyk

21 May, 2021

Although immediately familiar, the Q2’s styling has come of age with this new model. The new look is more robust and the polygonal treatment more pronounced

It’s nearly four years since the Audi Q2 first made an appearance, winning over a legion of fans with its edgy, angular styling that was at once familiar to followers of the brand and yet with its own unique interpretation of the Audi design language.

Sliding neatly into the compact luxury class, the Q2 was the perfect size for urban dwellers and their day-to-day running around, and yet it provided ample space and pace for journeys outside of the city limits.

Its multi-angled, polygonal design grabbed the most attention and won the Q2 a raft of awards, and now the second generation Audi Q2 has arrived in Australia bringing a new interpretation of that now familiar polygonal design as well as increased standard equipment and a new engine variant. The two Q2 models are also joined by the first ever Audi SQ2, the high-performance version of this compact luxury model adding yet another dimension to what was dubbed the ‘ultimate urban SUV’ when it first touched down in 2017. 

Although immediately familiar, the Q2’s styling has come of age with this new model. The new look is more robust and appears wider thanks to the lower placement of the distinctive Singleframe grille, while the angular, polygonal elements are more pronounced and have also been applied to the rear of the vehicle. The standard 18-inch wheels (19-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels available as an option), LED headlights and front end treatment add to the more aggressive look overall and the multi-plane surface gives the Q2 a taut look and significant road presence.

The contrasting C-pillar is still a feature of the new design, while the S line exterior body of the 40 TFSI quattro gives an even more aggressive, sporty look and makes it standout in traffic.

The Q2 lineup kicks off with the new Q2 35 TFSI ($42,900*) which sports a 1.5-litre engine which develops 110kW and 250Nm of torque between 1500 and 3000rpm. Mated to a seven-speed S tronic transmission, the 35 TFSI, which is driven through the front wheel sees off the standing 100km/h sprint in a solid 8.6 seconds and also features technology like Cylinder-on-Demand (CoD), which shuts down two of the vehicle’s four cylinder when not under load to save fuel. As with the larger models, this system is so smooth that this happens without you even being aware as you drive along. Likewise when the other cylinders are required, the system instantly reactivates them and the resultant fuel savings add up to frugal figures of 5.2L/100km.

Next in line is the 40 TFSI quattro S line ($49,900*) which uses a 2.0 TFSI engine producing140kW and 320Nm and the same seven-speed S tronic transmission. This sees the 0 to 100km/h time drop to 6.5 seconds, but despite the increased power and performance, the 40 TFSI quattro S line still manages to return fuel figures of 7.0L/100km. 

Joining the two Q2 models for the first time is the all-new Audi SQ2 ($64,400*) which sits at the top of the new Q2 range. With its 2.0 TFSI engine pumping out 221kW of power and a serious 400Nm of toque on tap, it brings significant performance gains and a whole new S driving experience to the segment. Producing a sub-five second 0 to 100km/h time, or 4.9 seconds to be precise, the is seriously quick off the mark. It utilises the same seven-speed S tronic transmission as the two Q2 models and as with all Audi S models, features quattro all-wheel drive to make the most of its superior performance and offer superb grip in all conditions. Working with S sport suspension and progressive steering and riding on 19-inch wheels as standard, the SQ2 is a deserving recipient of the coveted S badge, bringing serious performance and equipment to the Q2 ranks.

The all-new Audi SQ2 brings significant performance gains and a whole new S driving experience to the segment

Equipment across the board is impressive, as are standard safety features which earn the Q2 a five star ANCAP rating

Equipment across the board is impressive, as are standard safety features which earn the Q2 a five star ANCAP rating. Both models feature Audi pre-sense city (AEB) with pedestrian detection, side assist, cruise control, parking system plus with sensors and rear camera, as well as tyre pressure indicators and six airbags.

Audi’s trademark finish is evident throughout with plenty of luxury touches like the heated wing mirrors, dual-zone climate control, digital driver information display, Audi smartphone interface and phone box light wireless charging. 

The MMI navigation plus with MMI touch (8.3-inch colour display) is standard in both Q2 models and the 35 TFSI comes with leather-appointed seats and steering wheel. The 40 TFSI quattro S line adds sport front seats, auto-dimming interior mirror and aluminium interior accents as well as an electric tailgate operation, but customers can also choose from two packages to further enhance their Q2. 

The style package adds 19-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlights with front and rear dynamic indicators, Audi virtual cockpit, extended black exterior styling package and (35 TFSI only) full body paint finish. Alternatively, customers can go for the premium package which includes adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go, active lane assist, park assist, hill hold assist, heated exterior mirrors with folding and dimming function, privacy glass, 180W Audi sound system, front heated seats, auto-dimming interior mirror and Audi virtual cockpit. 

Getting behind the wheel of the Q2 range and perhaps the biggest surprise is the entry model 35 TFSI. Despite its modest displacement, it gets along at a brisk pace and with plenty of urge for overtaking when the load pedal is planted. In traffic it’s zippy and responsive and on relatively steep road sections of the Clyde Mountain road where the launch took place, pulling the selector into S and massaging the throttle produced pleasing results, reeling in slower vehicles in the overtaking sections without objection. 

Its front-wheel drive felt planted through the twister sections and there was nary a hint of torque steer, even under hard acceleration through tight bends.

Despite occupying the ‘compact’ luxury class, the Q2 models (all of them) felt spacious inside where it counts, with plenty of room in the front and rear seats as well as generous luggage storage in the boot section. Despite the feeling of interior space though, the overall feel from behind the wheel was of a compact, agile vehicle – and that feeling of agility just kept getting more pronounced as the power output increased.

Step up into the 40 TFSI quattro S line and the added power is immediately evident, as is the more surefooted feel, which allows you to dive deeper into bends before braking and will pay dividends is wet or icy conditions or on trips up to the snow. The 2.0 TFSI is a wonderfully tractable engine that provides plenty of punch for city driving, but is equally at home on long haul drives. On the right bit of twisting road the 2.0 TFSI is plenty engaging with the quattro all-wheel drive and really hunkers down, and the addition of paddles on the wheel allow those who want to really immerse themselves in the driving experience to do just that.

Despite its modest displacement, the 35 TFSI gets along at a brisk pace and with plenty of urge for overtaking as required

The arrival of the SQ2 is significant for those wanting to hit that performance sweet spot in the compact SUV ranks

But for those who want to turn up the wick in terms of performance, styling and appointment, the all-new SQ2 has to be the one. With its extra 81kW over the 2.0 TFSI quattro S line, the SQ2 is a different animal as you would expect. At this performance end of the compact premium SUV market, no S model has previously been available unless you were to step up in physical size to the Audi SQ5 models. Of course the RS Q3 has been available since around 2013, but that’s in a different class again, so the arrival of the SQ2 is significant for those wanting to hit that performance sweet spot in the compact SUV ranks.

The SQ2 does that with its almost instant acceleration, quattro grip and balance. It is every inch the compact performance car, but with that elevated seating position that makes SUV models so popular. As an S model though it’s not just about the acceleration and handling, but the whole package. From the sharper styling with S highlights and detailing on the body that sets it apart, to the 19-inch alloy wheels with distinctive red brake callipers and the Matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators and of course the quad exhaust tips – the SQ2 stands out.

Inside too it features the trademark S model diamond pattern stitching on the Fine Nappa leather seats (which are heated up front), the S sport leather multi-function steering wheel as well as design touches like the light graphics inlay and the moody colour ambient lighting.

Technology is leading-edge with a 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit that features an S-specific display and a 705W Bang & Olufsen sound system with 14 speakers is standard equipment. Likewise the Audi smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android, digital radio and parking system plus with front and rear cameras and park assist are all standard fair and the SQ2 features an impressive complement of safety and driver assistance systems as standard equipment. Think adaptive cruise control with stop&go function and emergency assist, Audi active lane assist, side assist (with blind spot land change warning) and Audi pre-sense city with Autonomous Emergency Braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection.

It’s an impressive package across the board and one that injects a completely new personality into the Q2 ranks. The arrival of the SQ2 also gives customers a true high-performance option in this segment, building on the edgy, design driven appeal of the Q2 range. At the end of the day, the choice as always, is a personal one, driven by individual tastes and lifestyle. The Q2’s unique character shines through in each model offering, and the appeal of this second-generation Q2 range and the addition of the SQ2 see ‘the ultimate urban SUV’ sure up its grip on the title.

 (*Manufacturer List Pricing [MLP] – excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges) 

The SQ2 ticks all of the boxes, with performance, appointment, technology and safety all well covered