Audi Q2 40TFSI: Review
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Audi’s entrant for the entry-level luxury SUV space packs a hefty spec sheet and a heftier price. A different formula from the competition.
The Audi Q2 might have come to our shores after it was replaced by a facelift internationally, but it doesn't mean we miss out on a lot. In fact, the India-spec car gets a more powerful engine along with Quattro all-wheel drive setup. And with this, it promises a true-blue Audi experience for the purest, but there is one hurdle. Available in 5 variants, the Q2’s prices start humbly but this Technology variant’s ex-showroom price of 48.89 lakh is asking for a lot. Can the Audi Q2 deliver value to that price, or is it a case of too much, too late, with the Mercedes GLA and the BMW X1 already having made a name for themselves?
From the front, the wide grills and airdam dominate the face and the all-black look makes it look almost industrial and tuff. The headlamps have intricate details going on in them with a strong underlining LED DRL. However, this DRL holds high resemblance to Volvo’s signature Thor’s Hammer LED DRLs, found on each and every one of their modern day cars. Nevertheless, from the front, the Q2 manages to pull off an SUV-ish look.
However, as soon as you get the quarter angle in, things start to look a bit small. The overall size of the Q2 now comes in the picture and it is a bit underwhelming. It measures 4318mm in length, 1805mm in width, 1548mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2593mm. These dimensions are close to that of the Kia Seltos, while the length and width is in fact smaller than that of the Kia. Size appart, the strong body lines of the Q2 give it tonnes of attitude, especially the one that starts from the headlamp, splits near the doors and then reconvenes near the tail lamps. The 17-inch wheels too look too sober.
At the back, onlookers could mistake this for an Audi hatchback. The saving grace is still the details of the design with the 3D cut tail lamps, layered boot gate and the dual exhaust pipes.
The Audi Q2 is a good looking car if you don't have any preconceived notions of how a traditional luxury SUV needs to look like. It's got muscular creases, the right proportions and nice details in the headlamps and other elements to be an expensive luxury car. The only thing that doesn't work in its favour is the size. It's a little too compact for an SUV, that too a luxury one. And hence, it ends up with not so great presence on the road.
Being slightly old, the dashboard layout of the Audi Q2 does look a bit dated. Especially compared to the three-screen layout that can be seen in all morder-day Audis. This feeling especially comes from the rounded AC vents and the freestanding infotainment system. That being said, that is the only complaint you will have when it comes to the layout. The quality of the cabin in typical Audi fashion is top-notch and it's built like a tank. The materials all around the cabin feel premium and the buttons are all very tactile to use. The Q2 does feel like you are sitting in an expensive car.
The driver’s cockpit features the Audi Virtual cockpit, a fully digital instrument cluster. We have seen newer iterations of this display and while the layout is the same, they do feature a better resolution display. The steering wheel is a chunky one and feels fantastic to hold on to. And this will soon become one of our favorite parts of this car. Read on.
In terms of features, this Audi is a mixed bag. The 8-inch infotainment screen comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but is not a touchscreen--the screen is operated with the dial and trackpad in the centre console. You get a wireless charging pad, a large sunroof with a manual sunshade, which is a bit odd as it doesn't open or close with the sunroof, a good music system, two-zone climate control but no rear AC vents; and while the seats are well contoured, they are not ventilated, headed or powered. All this for a car that costs close to Rs 50 lakh is a bit disappointing.
At the back, the space is a bit limited. Seats are well contoured and comfortable, but some will find the backrest angle to be too steep. The big centre tunnel and the limited shoulder room also makes this Audi ideal for two at the back. And in terms of features, you get a central armrest with cupholders, two USB type C ports and a 12V socket. AC vents and grab handles are missing here.
The Audi Q2 feels like a big, premium hatchback from the inside as well. Key highlights is the quality of the cabin, but the mixed feature set leaves a bit to be desired.
At 355 litres, the Q2 has the boot space similar to most subcompact SUVs like the Venue and Sonet. It can accommodate a weekend’s worth of luggage with ease. However, it will help if they are packed into smaller bags.
Engine and performance
This is where the Q2 feels like a no-corners-cut Audi. Powering this hatch-UV is a 2.0-litre TSi turbocharged petrol motor with 190PS of power and 320Nm of torque. This engine comes mated to a 7-speed DSG gearbox which sends power to all the 4 wheels via the Quattro all-wheel drive. This engine isn't just punchy and strong, but sounds sweet as well. And the harder you drive it, the more you will appreciate this drivetrain.
The rev-happy nature of this engine really comes to life when you are launching off the line. While it could not match its claimed 0-100kmph time of 6.6seconds, the 7.5s time we got is still pretty impressive. The engine redlined close to 6000 rpm and you feel the power dipping before that. However, this being a turbocharged engine, there is a bit of lag below the 1500 rpm mark.
The gearbox does well there to mask this lag by holding on to a gear. Get you foot down for overtakes and the Q2 downshifts and picks up pace swiftly. 20-80kmph comes up in 5.17 seconds, which is properly impressive. Hence, whether it's going for gaps or overtakes or just being a little silly off the line, the Q2 manages it all.
But what if you want to calmly cruise in the city or the highway? The Q2 does that equally well. 100kmph in 7th gear keeps the engine spinning at 1700 rpm and you can cross multiple borders with ease. Inside the city, the character of this gearbox gets further highlighted. Quick, responsive and jerk free. This even lets you remain in the Dynamic drive mode inside the city, without complaints from the fellow passengers. Braking too is thoroughly impressive, with 100-0kmph happening just 36.92 metres. Most modern cars take about 40 metres to do so.
Ride and handling
This is where the Q2 shines. With its Quattro all wheel drive system managing the power to wheel ratio, the Q2 is fun around corners. Its grip is impressive and as you start going faster, it tends to inspire more confidence. The steering is accurate and you can extract a lot out of this powertrain without being an experienced driver as well. However, it has a tendency to understeer when pushed hard into a corner. Even then, just backing off the throttle will get the car back in line. Just mind your entry speed and the Q2 will take care of the rest, letting you enjoy the driving and ride balance.
Speaking of ride, the suspension is set up a bit on the stiffer side. This means that bumps, especially sharper ones, are translated into the cabin. Speed breaker and potholes too will be felt inside, however they are dealt with a good composure, keeping the occupants comfortable. In fact, in typical European fashion, it rides more like a raised hatchback than an SUV.
For the first time luxury car buyer, there is a lack of flair and oomph in the Audi’s looks and cabin to wow the family. The compact dimensions, simplistic wheels, non-touchscreen display, manual sunroof shade, manual seat height adjustment, and the limited rear seat space would have been acceptable at a price point undercutting the key rival, the BMW X1 (Rs 42.90 lakh). But Rs 48.89 lakh ex-showroom for this Technology variant feels like asking for a lot of money. And this will only feel worthy to one person in the car, the one holding the steering wheel.
While most luxury cars today are trying to tick every box in the buyer’s list, the Q2 takes a slightly different route. It's poised to be a driver's car with its powerful and responsive powertrain, while the Quattro makes up for the lack of any driving talent that you may or may not have. It's a safe and fun car to be driven around corners, or crossing state borders. If you are looking for a smaller, fun to drive car without budget constraints, matching your social status, this fits the bill.