As soon as the covers were lifted on the all-new, 2017 Audi Q2 at the Geneva International Motor Show, the design polarised almost everyone who looked at it. Many punters loved its almost ‘non-Audi SUV’ appearance, but some didn’t. And the ones who didn’t like it, really didn’t like it.
But the man responsible for the Q2’s design is adamant that this tiny crossover SUV had to be different. It had to be fresh, and it had to target a different kind of buyer to the traditional Audi SUVs that have gone before it.
“It’s compact, it’s sport, it's a pure SUV,” says Mattias Fink, head of exterior design for the Audi Q2. “We believe it is a true utility vehicle, with a sport cabin that is almost like a coupe.”
Highlighting the fickle desires of younger buyers, Audi has ensured there is plenty of scope to customise the Q2.
“The C pillar for example, that thick blade panel, can be customised in many different colours, and your dealer can change it whenever you like,” Fink told CarAdvice. “It appeals to a sense of fashion, with flexibility to individualise the Q2.”
Matthias is proud of his all new Q2, and you can understand why given it’s his first major project, and the first vehicle he’s designed for Audi.
“The company liked the design proposal from the beginning, which for us as designers is amazing,” he told us. Matthias himself is only 33 and he says the average age of his design team would be around 30, putting the Q2’s designers at the younger end of the spectrum in a global sense.
Despite the deep profiled side scallop, the Q2 perhaps looks most like an Audi SUV from side on.
“The side profile is robust but stylish,” Fink says. “It looks like the cabin is being protected by broad shoulders, and we went for that style deliberately.”
“We wanted to make this Q2 feasible from the outset, and we wanted to bring it to market,” Fink says. “It was therefore a big win for us, and an achievement we are all proud of.”
The aforementioned scallops along the flanks emphasise the guards, the wheel openings and the wheels themselves, and definitely give the Q2 an individual sense of style.
“It adds what I would call the appearance of craftsmanship,” says Fink. “It’s like a hand-carved piece of timber used to make furniture, there’s a sense that the car has been sculpted.”
While many are arguing the point that the Q2 looks nothing like an Audi SUV, the new grille surround and different looks are almost certainly a pointer to future Audi SUVs.
“You could say that yes,” Fink says. “The Q2 is different, but we still think it is 100 per cent an Audi SUV and indeed a Q model, despite opening the way for a new Q-faced Audi range.”
Fink went on to explain that there has been a concerted effort to differentiate the Q2 from Audi passenger cars and that will continue with each new iteration of a Q model.
“What you see here is the new face, a simple design. It’s simple but it is elegant, the headlights are the focus from the front angle and while the Q2 needed to be robust, it couldn’t be unattractive.”
Read our story on the release of the Audi Q2 here.