Chunky and bold, Audi goes con­fi­dently com­pact with Q2

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - MOTORING - Fred­eric Manby Road test RE­GIONAL AUTOMOTIVE JOUR­NAL­IST OF THE YEAR

AUDI HAS bro­ken away from its cur­rent styling trend with the Q2, a five-door chunky hatch­back, touted with fa­mil­iar Four-Ring vim as the first pre­mium qual­ity com­pact SUV. It cer­tainly sits in a small pool but the de­bate is al­ready un­der way and for the record I think Audi is wrong.

The body de­sign starts with a bold deep grill, con­tin­ues down the flanks with a novel geo­met­ric flat up­per panel lozenge, to the wide roof pil­lars – 21 inches across at the base – then the back, with 3D tail light cov­ers.

It sits in length be­tween the A1 Sport­back and the Q3. Of ri­vals, the BMW X1 is larger than the Q3. The near­est qual­ity ri­val is the ro­bust Mini Coun­try­man fea­tured on page two, and don’t forget this is made by BMW. It is avail­able with 4x4 trac­tion, too, and has been thor­oughly re-vamped for 2017. Prices, from £22,465 for the Cooper.

Let the joust­ing be­gin for the first small qual­ity SUV crown. As a pointer, the Q2 body style is listed merely as an es­tate on dealer web­sites. That seems a bit off mes­sage. Mean­while, the Q2 is go­ing to sell on its badge and its looks, what­ever sec­tor it’s in. Prices start at £20,230 for the 115bhp SE petrol one litre – a three cylin­der en­gine which has proved its qual­i­ties in other small Audis and Volk­swa­gens.

Do not dis­miss it be­cause it is only one litre ca­pac­ity and a cylin­der short on re­spectable. For ev­ery­day driv­ing this chubby Audi should suit most ev­ery­day driv­ers. Most days I am an ev­ery­day driver. Com­pared with the days when I’d chor­tle 1,000 miles to the Cor­bières in a 602cc twocylin­der Citroen Dyane, this cheap­est Q2 is a racer.

Next in the Q2 range is the 148bhp VW Group 1.4 TFSI petrol turbo, from £22,380, which fea­tures au­to­matic cutout of two cylin­ders on a light throt­tle to save fuel. The en­try level diesel is a high torque 115bhp 1.6 but diesel is start­ing to get a se­ri­ous kick­ing from health ad­vo­cates.

The Q2 se­ries then moves to Sport, of­fer­ing the same en­gines and a 148bhp 2-litre diesel. The pop­u­lar S line completes the reg­u­lar se­ries, drop­ping the one-litre petrol en­gine. All bar that en­gine are of­fered with a su­per-sweet seven speed au­to­matic gear­box. Qu­at­tro 4x4 trac­tion is of­fered only with 2-litre diesel au­to­matic at launch, from £28,360 in Sport trim.

It is a charm­ing propo­si­tion

FOUR RINGS GOOD: – though early feed­back shows that not all on­look­ers are per­suaded. The demo car was in a stun­ning chrome yel­low with sil­ver roof pil­lars aka blades in the cat­a­logue. You can choose a none metal­lic sil­ver, or darker grey for the blades.

All Q2s have al­loy wheels, from 16 to 19 inches, frontal crash and pedes­trian sens­ing brak­ing, smart­phone links and pro­gres­sive feel steer­ing. Tasty op­tions in­clude Audi’s ac­claimed vir­tual cock­pit, a head up dis­play and a B&O au­dio unit. Also avail­able or stan­dard are adap­tive cruise con­trol, ac­tive lane keep­ing and an alert for cross traf­fic when you are rev­ers­ing.

The car sent for test was the 1.4 TFSI S line au­to­matic at £27,730 plus £550 for the Ve­gas yel­low paint. Ex­tras I found use­ful were the pow­ered boot clo­sure (£450) and the £1,595 tech­nol­ogy pack which brought the vir­tual cock­pit which can trans­fer the nav­i­ga­tion map to cover the whole in­stru­ment screen, with vi­tal info such as speed, dis­played in smaller di­als. This had its de­but in the 2014 Audi TT and has now won “tech of the year” in the first Car Tech Awards. Judges ap­plauded the sharp graph­ics, rapid re­sponse when you change the dis­play. Stu­art Milne, who ed­its com­mented that the more you use it the bet­ter it gets and says it’s a must-have in any Audi which of­fers it. But it’s your money .... mine would want it.

This Q2 was a nippy thing, with a 0-6mph time of just just over eight sec­onds, a max­i­mum of 131mph (not tested). Com­bined mpg is rated at 52.3 with 123g of CO2. The Q2 moves into 2017 en­dorsed with e five star EuroN­cap crash safety rat­ing. Audi is ac­cus­tomed to praise for its in­te­ri­ors and the Q2 holds the fort. The S line has an alu­minium mesh trim which at night glows yel­low in a snake­skin pat­tern along the trans­mis­sion tun­nel and across the fas­cia panel.

There are plenty of stor­age spa­ces, stal­wart yet at­trac­tive door grips. When folded, the rear seats make a level ex­ten­sion on the boot floor.

The ride is firm and the test car had a a few vi­bra­tions, in­clud­ing one traced to the driver’s side panel – pre­sum­ably eas­ily snagged at the deal­er­ship.

Steer­ing has vari­able as­sis­tance and a very pos­i­tive straight ahead man­ner.

The nav­i­ga­tion was al­most per­fect – just de­scrib­ing one sharp right turn as “turn slightly right”. For­giv­able.

The econ­omy was good, rang­ing from 42mpg on a short shop­ping trip, to 45mpg on a 57 mile com­muter route and 50mpg on the mo­tor­way.

Ver­dict. It’s an­other prac­ti­cal life­style smart Audi to en­dorse your stand­ing in the com­mu­nity. Hard to re­sist if you have the money.

Audi’s Q2 is be­ing mar­keted as the first pre­mium qual­ity com­pact SUV. Prices start from £20,230.

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