FULL OF AWE FOR THE AUDI
THERE'S a price to pay for anything bearing the title of prestige: a Bic, for instance, does not command the same respect as a Montegrappa, a Cross or a Mont Blanc pen.
In carworld, the Montegrappa of city SUVS is the Audi Q2.
It's a seriously stylish number bristling with hi-tech, especially so when loaded with some of its extensive options.
Our test Q2 started at $41,100, which might seem a bit pricey for a compact, but hey, it's the one with the four-ringed badge, the one to turn your neighbours green with envy.
Q2s come in 1.4 and 2.0-litre models, the latter about $7000 more than the 1.4 we're reviewing.
Both have seven-speed S-tronic dualclutch automatic transmission as standard and the 1.4-litre features fuel-saving Cylinder-on-demand technology that shuts down two of the four cylinders under light throttle loads.
It 's a well-proven engine, also used in the A3, that develops 110kw/250nm and returns an average 5.3litres/100km.
Other standard items include autonomous emergency braking (AEB), satnav, Bluetooth and smartphone interface, voice control and parking system plus rear view camera.
There's also automatic airconditioning with dual-zone climate control, leather-appointed seats, auto-dimming interior mir- ror and 17-inch alloy wheels.
But our car had $10,000 worth of cherrytops in an 'assistance package' and a 'technik package', plus a panoramic tinted glass roof, folding rear seats with arrest, a 10speaker 6-channel 180W amp Audi sound system and different design alloys with 215/55 tyres.
The assist stuff has adaptive cruise control, lane, side, high beam, hill-hold and park assist, and a rollover sensor, and the techniks featured the delightful configurable 'virtual cockpit' dash with a 12.3inch colour display, MMI navigation-plus and a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel with shift paddles.
LED lights, brushed aluminium inlays and a few other cosmetics completed the picture.
The car's interior is beautifully appointed and the seating, front and rear, gives such good comfort and visibility that it would be a great long-distance tourer.
As for luggage space, there are 405 litres available with all seats up or a massive 1050 with the rear seats folded flat.
The 1.4litre petrol turbo engine and smooth seven-speed auto are well-matched and do their work in an unobtrusive way, as befits a Euro thoroughbred.
It’s a five-star rater in every department.
Verdict: A thoroughly pleasant prestige car that is one of the least expensive ways of getting a four-ringer in your driveway.
Prestigious compact: Audi's Q2.