Fully kit­ted-up Audi only for the very suc­cess­ful

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - DAVID LINKLATER

One of the great things about Audi’s small-hatch-cum-SUV, the Q2, is that it’s the most orig­i­nal­look­ing thing from the Ger­man maker for ages.

Another is that you can con­fig­ure it pretty much any way you like. Mini might have led the way with the small-car per­son­al­i­sa­tion move­ment, but Audi has re­ally gone to town with the Q2 op­tions list.

But there’s al­ways op­por­tu­nity cost, right? In this case it’s, well, cost.

The Q2 Sport starts at $54,500, which is a pre­mium price but still just $5000 more than the A3 with the same pow­er­train – a car which seems ex­tremely dull in com­par­i­son. But of course, the Q2’s whole sell­ing propo­si­tion is per­son­al­i­sa­tion so that $55k will be just the start for most buy­ers.

Ad­mit­tedly, the me­dia-car you see here is loaded up to show just what’s pos­si­ble. But the price as tested (at least ac­cord­ing to my spec sheet/cal­cu­la­tor combo) is still breath­tak­ing at $67,620.

That’s what hap­pens when you de­cide you like the S-line model with spe­cial ex­te­rior styling, flat­bot­tom steer­ing wheel and LED in­te­rior light­ing ($4500), the Tech­nol­ogy Pack­age of Vir­tual Cock­pit in­stru­ments and sat-nav ($3500), Driver As­sis­tance Sys­tem Pack­age with adap­tive cruise, park­ing as­sis­tance, lane-keep and au­to­matic high-beam lights ($3000), gloss black ex­te­rior de­tail­ing ($1250) pri­vacy glass ($1200) and in­te­rior-trim light in­lays ($750).

Well, at least that’s the stuff I could work out. There might be more. If you fancy leather as well you’ll eas­ily tip the Q2 over into $70k ter­ri­tory.

Not every­body will go this far, but many peo­ple will – at least if the ri­val Mini brand is any­thing to go by. So you re­ally do have to look at the Q2 as a pre­mium small-SUV.

Mostly, it fits the bill. If there’s any­thing that errs on the side of house-brand with this car it’s the plat­form/pow­er­train, which is the same as you’ll find in any num­ber of Volk­swa­gen Group prod­ucts.

It’s still good stuff and if any­thing, the Q2 drives a lit­tle bet­ter than the equiv­a­lent A3 thanks to bet­ter steer­ing and a softer, but more pro­gres­sive cor­ner­ing stance. The dual-clutch S-tronic trans­mis­sion (which is VW’s DSG in all but name) is as snappy as ever, al­beit with the oc­ca­sional hes­i­ta­tion in low-speed city work.

But in look and feel the Q2 is spe­cial enough to carry that pre­mium price. The ex­te­rior styling is in­trigu­ing and the in­te­rior reeks of Ger­man qual­ity. Audi isn’t quite as over-the-top with its in­te­rior ma­te­ri­als as it used to be, but the Q2 has as much touchy-feely stuff in­side as the larger, more ex­pen­sive A4.

And some of those op­tions are pretty cool. The Vir­tual Cock­pit gives you a dig­i­tal in­stru­ment panel that can be con­fig­ured in dif­fer­ent views, in­clud­ing one that min­imises the tra­di­tional stuff (speed/revs) and al­lo­cates the ma­jor­ity of the dis­play area to the sat-nav map. Love it.

You don’t have to spend the re­ally big bucks, of course. Opt for a show­room-stan­dard Q2 and you still get the cheer­ful per­for­mance and high-qual­ity cabin. But such a car will prob­a­bly be a very rare sight.

Fully dressed-up Q2 looks pretty strik­ing. But then it can also be very ex­pen­sive: this one is nudg­ing $70k.

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