– Big and Small
Audi will have another niche filled when its new Q2 compact SUV arrives next year. The smallest member of the Q family wears a familiar looking grille while large intakes positioned outboard in the bumper give the little SUV a wider stance. It’s said to be the first model overseen by new design director Marc Lichte so blame him if you don’t like the treatment of the C pillars.
The Q2 rides on the MQB platform and measures 4.19m, putting it in- between the A1 and A3 Sportbacks for length, and it is 1.51m tall. The 2.6m wheelbase is similar to that of the A3. Audi says the Q3 has good all-round vision typical of an SUV and also ease of entry but makes a point of the driver’s seat position being low in relation to the wheel, like that of an Audi sedan. Boot space is quoted at 405L, expanding to 1050L with split folding, and features include a powered tailgate and threeway split for the rear bench. Top models will have the option of Audi’s virtual cockpit, head-up display and active
cruise, though autonomous emergency braking (AEB) will be standard.
The entry-level models will be front drivers, and there are six engines available in Europe including a one-litre triple, 1.4 and 2.0 fours and three four-cylinder diesels. A seven-speed twin-clutch will be standard for NZ, while the top spec 2.0-litre models are said to feature a newly developed version of the transmission and both come with AWD. Front-wheel drive models have a semi-independent rear end while AWD versions get a four-link set-up. Variable steering is standard, while adaptive dampers can be optioned. The Q2 launches in Europe in Q3, and is expected here early in 2017.
Coming later this year is the new SQ7 super-diesel, with a headline figure of 900Nm of torque from 1000rpm. It will be the first vehicle on the market with a 48-volt electrical system which has enabled the use of an electrically driven compressor to boost torque right from idle. The 4.0-litre V8 also boasts two sequential turbos to push power out to 320kW. The instant thrust is said to have banished turbo lag, and Audi quotes a 0-100km/h time of 4.8sec. That should make it the first production diesel vehicle we will have driven to run 0-100 in under five seconds. Audi also states its combined fuel use average is 7.4L/100km in the test lab.
The electric booster is said to require 7kW of power to drive, which is provided by the 48V electric system, and this gets the compressor spinning up to 70,000rpm (full boost), in 250 milliseconds. It helps the conventional turbos to spool up faster, eliminating lag. The 48V system has its own lithium-ion battery housed under the boot floor, while there is also a regular 12V system for normal operations. To further improve efficiency the rail pressure for the injection system is ramped up to 2500bar while boost pressure for the regular turbos, which live in the V of the eight, is enhanced by active valve timing. While it is an acknowledged technology leader, the SQ7 is likely to arrive here wearing rather a lofty price tag.