The 2021 Audi Q2 is one of those vehicles that is easy to use as an example to claim that Audi simply wants to dip a toe into the water of every possible segment globally. That said, though, every luxury brand wants a piece of the segment, so it’s not just about Audi. Look at the success of the Q2 in Australia since its launch, though, and it’s clear to see that the concept of a premium compact SUV is something that has resonated with Australian buyers.
As such, the launch of the facelifted Q2 is one that has been eagerly anticipated by both punters looking to move to the Audi brand or, according to Audi, existing Audi owners looking to add a Q2 to a garage that might already include an Audi of a different flavour.
At the local launch, we’re driving the 35TFSI and 40TFSI Quattro S Line grades, with full pricing and specification detail in our news story. The 1.5-litre 35TFSI starts from $42,900 before on-road costs, while the 2.0-litre 40TFSI starts from $49,900 before on-road costs.
On paper, the numbers look spot-on for the technical specification and price point, when weighed up against the competition. The 35 makes 110kW and 250Nm while using an ADR-claimed 5.2L/100km on the combined cycle. The 40 steps things up a notch to 140kW and 320Nm while using a claimed 7.0L/100km on the combined cycle.
|2021 Audi SQ2 40TFSI Quattro|
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power and torque||140kW at 4200–6000rpm, 320Nm at 1500–4200rpm|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Fuel claim combined (ADR)||7.0L/100km|
|Fuel use on test||8.6L/100km|
|Boot volume (min/max)||355L/1000L|
|Height / length / width||1495mm / 4216mm / 1802mm|
|ANCAP rating||Five-star (2017)|
|Warranty||Three years/unlimited km|
|Main competitors||BMW X2, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Mini Countryman|
|Price as tested (plus on-road costs)||From $49,900|
How much power and performance you need, in this segment at least, is more likely tied to how far your budget stretches rather than how sporty you want your commute to be. Still, in the form of the slightly warmed up 40TFSI and the much more potent SQ2, Audi is covering as many bases as it can.
You could say that on the surface the Q2 cuts a sharp figure, and aims to appeal to the style-conscious buyer while delivering the same conservative attention to detail that Audi is renowned for. The compact SUV segment might not be to everyone’s tastes, but there’s little doubt the Q2 is a stylish option.
Both vehicles on test here are well-specified, as is the usual Audi brief, with the 35TFSI getting 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, tail-lights and DRLs, heated exterior mirrors, leather seats, ambient interior lighting, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, dual-zone AC, MMI Navigation Plus, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, DAB+, and wireless charging. According to Audi, that adds up to more than $3000 of real equipment added.
The 40TFSI gets S Line exterior trim, Audi Sport 18-inch alloy wheels, sports front seats, an electric tailgate, Audi Drive Select, paddle shifters, and illuminated alloy door sills among other specification that totals $4000 in added value.
Further, Audi has simplified the options structure with two packs that can be added to either grade, with details for those in our pricing and specification guide. While options packs bring more equipment, the Q2 doesn’t feel like it’s a stripped-out cost exercise even in base trim, such is the quality with which Audi executes a design principle and cabin.
The cabin, as has been the case for some time now, is an Audi strong point. It looks classy, neat, comfortable and user-friendly. And that’s exactly how it plays out in reality too. Our brief launch drive allowed us to test Apple CarPlay through the 8.3-inch infotainment screen and that worked well.
The proprietary satellite navigation is also a good system and worked faultlessly at launch. As we’ve noted before, the positioning of the screen at the leading edge of the dash ensures it’s easy to read in all light. The MMI operating system is one that is easy to decipher, and the main controls all work as you expect them to, as well. Stepping up to the 40TFSI also brings – in line with the S Line packaging – Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
While the 40TFSI is undoubtedly a punchier, more responsive and more engaging way to get from A to B, the 35TFSI is by no means incapable of either doing the work you will require of it around town or tackling an enjoyable country blast. Heading out of Canberra onto typical Australian regional roads, both drivetrains worked well at any speed. If you genuinely enjoy your driving, though, and you want to have a bit of fun occasionally, the 40 is the pick.
The ride is comfortable in both variants, with both soaking up nasty ruts in a composed fashion, and there was little in the way of tyre noise entering the cabin. On a longer drive, either 35TFSI or 40TFSI has a way of settling into a relaxed lope, dealing with its surroundings in the way you’d expect of a larger SUV. In fact, that’s a strong point to the Q2’s appeal. It does feel, both from behind the wheel and in terms of the way it behaves, like a bigger vehicle.
The steering is excellent on a twisty road as well, with the Q2 delivering real point and shoot ability, despite the fact that you might not go into the drive experience expecting that. It’s well balanced, competent and tied down, all solid features for the intended buyer.
It’s easy to forget that the new Q2 is a primarily city-focused SUV, especially when you weigh up how capable it is out on the open road. We’ll do more testing when we have the facelifted Q2 through the CarAdvice/Drive garage, but on first impressions, it’s an excellent execution of a segment that didn’t even rate a mention not so long ago.
Given the style element of this segment and the city focus, it’s also fair to assume that the 2021 Audi Q2 is the type of platform that could spearhead Audi’s move to electrification as we move forward too. I don’t think compact premium SUVs will be going anywhere, anytime soon.