Audi mus­cles into com­pact SUV ter­ri­tory with the re­fined Q2, and it won’t cost you the earth.

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - WITH GRANT PAYNE grant.payne@news.com.au

THOSE of you in the mar­ket for a com­pact SUV with a bud­get up to $50,000 might well think pres­tige Euro­pean name­plate may be out reach, or will limit your choice to skinny spec­i­fi­ca­tion sheet lit­tle bang buck.

Audi would beg to dif­fer, and the ar­rival of the new Q2 sends a clear, value-packed mes­sage po­ten­tial buy­ers that it is game-on in hotly con­tested seg­ment with a re­fined of­fer­ing that puts pre­mium brand well within reach — the en­try level Q2 CoD De­sign can be had for less than $46,000 drive­away be­fore you go tick­ing op­tions. The SUV is avail­able in two spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the 1.4 litre turbo petrol front wheel drive and 2.1 diesel quat­tro sport — we are test driv­ing the for­mer, fit­ted with the com­fort pack­age. Ex­ter­nally Q2 fea­tures what

Audi says is a neat polyg­o­nal de­sign and uses “sculpted geo­met­ric shapes for a stun­ning in­ter­play of lines’’ — in lay­man’s terms this equates to pur­pose­ful, pow­er­ful, el­e­vated stance that, if you crouch down be­side the car to take it all in, will leave fairly im­pressed. Sim­i­larly, may have smash-re­pairer quak­ing in his or her boots, such are tricks those lines play on the eye. It’s very im­pres­sive.

From el­e­vated driv­ing po­si­tion and wellplanned but not overly com­pli­cated lay­out, it is a plea­sure to be in charge in the Q2 — the beau­ti­ful ana­logue di­als are crisp easy to read, com­bined with a digital speed in­di­ca­tor in be­tween.

Heat­ing and cool­ing con­trols laid out within easy reach smart switchgear for heated seats, en­abling dis­en­gag­ing the en­gine-stop start func­tion.

Brushed sil­ver high­lights break up the black trim — they have been used spar­ingly and add to pre­mium feel in­side. Front seats are ex­cel­lent, lux­u­ri­ous and, in our test car, heated, which is part of com­fort pack­age, also adds con­ve­nience key for full key­less en­try and start, elec­tri­cally ad­justable lum­bar sup­port, ex­tra stor­age nets, heated mir­rors more. Stan­dard kit in­cludes a USB port in front of the au­to­matic shifter with 12V socket and a sec­ondary port in­side the cen­tre arm­rest with aux­il­iary in­put. Do not bother look­ing for CD player Q2 — that’s taken care Audi’s Multi Media In­ter­face, which is Ap­ple Car Play equipped and runs through the sev­eninch media screen. Tech­nol­ogy is on tap ev­ery­where, start­ing with adap­tive cruise con­trolled brak­ing to keep you your car a safe dis­tance from one in front with­out the need to touch ped­als, au­ton­o­mous emer­gency and pedes­trian de­tec­tion, elec­tronic sta­bil­i­sa­tion con­trol, wheel se­lec­tive torque brake as­sist and more. Throw in au­towipers and lights, front rear park­ing sen­sors, view cam­era, lane keeper, blind spot warn­ing in­di­ca­tors and you have a very safe car, in­deed.

Audi’s bril­liant vir­tual-cock­pit can be or­dered as an op­tion, but I found the ana­logue gauges satel­lite-nav­i­ga­tion through dash-mounted screen to an ex­cel­lent com­bi­na­tion.

Rear seat room is good with­out be­ing mon­strous (this a com­pact SUV af­ter all) and boot-space bet­ter than ex­pected thanks to rear­wheel over­hang and ad­justable-floor plate so you can man­u­ally raise lower the depth in the hatch de­pend­ing on size of your load.

Re­cessed ports in the hatch will ac­com­mo­date golf clubs trans­versely with­out

need to lower rear seats — an­other plus.

The Q2 makes an­other com­pelling ar­gu­ment to dis­pense with my much-loved man­ual trans­mis­sion thanks to its silky sev­en­speed dual-clutch S-tronic au­to­matic, which is smoother than the prover­bial and loads of fun drive us­ing pad­dle-shifters. Mated 1.4 tur­bocharged 110kW en­gine (which fea­tures cylin­der-on-de­mand tech­nol­ogy), Audi feels racy but al­ways re­fined, and the front wheel drive will gal­lop from 0-100km/h in 8.5 sec­onds. Com­bined fuel cy­cle use 1.4 petrol is a miserly 5.3 litres/100km.

Dy­nam­i­cally, class-act with pre­cise and vari­able but well-weighted steer­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics that re­minded me of the sharp­ness fun you would find when driv­ing a go-kart, with­out, of course, lumps and bumps and noise. It’s an Audi, never rowdy.

It’s a great pack­age with great driver­feed­back se­ri­ously puts the “sport’’ into SUV.

The Q2 gets 17-inch al­loy wheels and low­pro­file 215/55 rub­ber.

Op­tions in­clude Style pack­age, S-line sport pack­age, and Teck­nik pack­age de­pend­ing on how far (and how much) you want to per­son­alise your Q2.

Audi Cen­tre Gee­long sales ex­ec­u­tive Johnny Luxton says the car is in­tro­duc­ing a new brace of cus­tomers to brand.

“The Q2 at­tracts lot of first-time Audi buy­ers — it’s un­like other Audis in terms of looks,’’ said.

“It’s a bit edgy. The car ap­peals to a younger de­mo­graphic be­cause of its sharp lines, big front grille and new tech­nol­ogy.

“How­ever, we have had lot cus­tomers who are re­tirees who find it very prac­ti­cal

of its size, ride height and fuel ef­fi­ciency. Stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes nav­i­ga­tion, leather, rear park­ing cam­era.’’

Audi has de­liv­ered an im­pres­sive mid-size SUV that brings com­fort class-lead­ing dy­nam­ics with ag­gres­sive and cal­cu­lated push into the sub-$50,000 bracket.

With its suite of safety fea­tures tech­nol­ogy, Q2 will make the com­pact SUV sale bat­tle even more com­pet­i­tive.

And any buy­ers look­ing for a than a shop­ping trol­ley on wheels cer­tainly have this one their list.

“The Q2 at­tracts a lot of first-time Audi buy­ers — it’s un­like other Audis in terms of looks.” AUDI CEN­TRE GEE­LONG SALES EX­EC­U­TIVE JOHNNY LUXTON

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