AUDI’S Q2 AIMS TO BE QUEEN OF HATCH­BACKS

The Q2 comes as the baby of Audi’s range of SUVS, but can it punch above its weight? Mus­cu­lar looks and that all-im­por­tant pre­mium image help it do just that...

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - BY SO­PHIE WIL­LIAMSON

AUDI Q2 WHAT’S NEW?

Un­veiled to the pub­lic at the Geneva Mo­tor Show in March, this sporty-look­ing SUV is the fourth (and small­est) mem­ber of Audi’s Q range – the en­try point to the Q range – along­side its big­ger broth­ers, the Q7, the Q5 and the Q3. Priced from £22,230, it’s set to take on the Mercedes GLA and the BMW X2.

LOOKS AND IMAGE

Tak­ing the form of a five-door util­ity ve­hi­cle, the Q2 is quite the looker. Thanks to its high shoul­der line and low roof that de­scends and merges into the C-pil­lars with con­trast­ing colour off­set blades, the Q2 boasts a bold and mus­cu­lar stance. Up front, its high-mounted sin­gle frame oc­tag­o­nal grille, hawk-eye head­lights and large air in­lets mounted on the front bumper re­sult in a men­ac­ing look.

The Q2 in­cor­po­rates the lat­est mul­ti­me­dia gad­gets from the new A4 and there are three gen­er­ously equipped spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els to choose from, with the en­try level SE ver­sions ben­e­fit­ting from a suite of fea­tures from stan­dard. These in­clude smart­phone in­ter­face, which sup­ports Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto, a seven-inch MMI screen and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity.

For an ad­di­tional £1,500, Sport mod­els gain 17-inch al­loy wheels (up from 16-inch on SE), drive se­lect with five op­er­a­tional modes, cruise con­trol, light and rain sen­sors, and sport seats. Step up to the range-top­ping S Line, £2,250 above the Sport, and stand-out fea­tures in­clude the hall­mark front, side and rear styling en­hance­ments, 18-inch al­loy wheels, LED head­lights, LED in­te­rior light­ing, and a multi-func­tional steer­ing wheel. All mod­els can be specced with Audi’s vir­tual cock­pit dis­play – an all-dig­i­tal 12.3-inch dis­play show­ing in­for­ma­tion tai­lored to the driver’s needs.

To help at­tract a new gen­er­a­tion of buy­ers, Audi has cre­ated an ex­ten­sive pal­ette of ex­travagant colours for cus­tomers to choose from – 12 to be pre­cise. There’s also a huge list of cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions in­side and out, in­clud­ing a two- tone roof and coloured dash in­serts and in­lays. These lit­tle touches have been specif­i­cally de­signed to counter crit­i­cism that all Audis come only in dull greys, blacks and blues. All UK cars will also come with colour-coded bumpers.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

Let’s look at the tech: in­side, driv­ers will be im­pressed to see the Q2 comes with a wire­less phone charger, smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity and a Bang & Olufsen stereo sys­tem as stan­dard. In short, the Q2 is equipped with tech­nol­ogy you’d ex­pect to find fur­ther up the range.

Along with the op­tional vir­tual cock­pit and head-up dis­play, the Q2 can also be specced with as­sis­tance sys­tems such as Audi’s pre-sense safety kit (which in­cludes pedes­trian recog­ni­tion and Au­ton­o­mous Emer­gency Brak­ing), adap­tive cruise con­trol, traf­fic jam as­sist and ac­tive lane as­sist.

The Q2 also ful­fils the fun­da­men­tal ex­pec­ta­tions of an SUV with ben­e­fits such as good vis­i­bil­ity and a large boot, which can carry up to 1,050 litres. Op­tional prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions in­clude a power tail­gate and a three-way split rear bench back­rest with cargo through-load­ing.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

It’s spot on. Audi has man­aged to build a spa­cious and com­pact SUV that can nip around cor­ners with ease. In fact, it’s one of the most pow­er­ful mod­els in the seg­ment. It even in­cor­po­rates a low seat­ing po­si­tion, sim­i­lar to what you’d find in an Audi saloon car, which gives you con­fi­dence while on jaunts across wind­ing coun­try roads.

The Q2 is launch­ing with an ini­tial choice of two four-cylin­der petrol en­gines – the 115bhp 1.6-litre TDI and the Cylin­der-on-de­mand 150bhp 1.4-litre TFSI. A three-cylin­der 115bhp 1.0-litre TFSI and a four-cylin­der 150bhp 2.0-litre TDI will be­come avail­able later in the year. The 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel units are ex­pected to top the sales charts.

As an al­ter­na­tive to the six-speed man­ual gear­box, Audi has said it will of- fer the seven-speed S tronic dual clutch trans­mis­sion across the range, bar the 1.0-litre, which is al­ready stan­dard on the 2.0-litre TDI. The brand has also an­nounced that from 2017, a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol unit, al­lied ex­clu­sively to Qu­at­tro all-wheel-drive and S tronic, will be in­tro­duced to the range. At this point, it will be pos­si­ble to com­bine the 150bhp TDI and TFSI en­gines with Qu­at­tro drive.

VALUE FOR MONEY

As stan­dard, the Audi Q2 of­fers buy­ers plenty of bang for their buck. You could de­scribe it as a com­pact A4; not only is it of­fer­ing pre­mium equip­ment and driver en­gage­ment at a lower cost to its ri­vals, it’s got bags of space and oozes fam­ily-friendly prac­ti­cal­ity from ev­ery corner. It’s also more than £4,000 cheaper than the en­try-level Mercedes GLA 200 CDI Sport.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

Hatch­back driv­ers in the mar­ket for their first SUV would find the Q2 an ap­peal­ing al­ter­na­tive, since they wouldn’t be giv­ing up on the per­for­mance and han­dling val­ues of a sporty su­per­mini. For cou­ples look­ing for a ver­sa­tile and re­fined fam­ily ve­hi­cle, with a spa­cious and stylish cabin, this cross­over should be at the top of their ‘ to test drive’ list. The Q2 will be avail­able to or­der in Au­gust 2016 with first de­liv­er­ies ex­pected in Novem­ber. See in­side forallthe­latestof­fers

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