Despite being a young badge in the company’s line-up, the Audi Q2 is now one of the brand’s oldest models.
Launched globally in 2016, Audi’s smallest crossover is nearing six years old and only recently received a minor refresh.
It’s still based on the same MQB architecture as an array of Volkswagen Group models, but within Audi’s own universe it’s missing the latest MMI infotainment interface, and is priced perilously close to the larger Q3.
The Q2 is fairly light on for direct rivals, too, with its closest competitor coming in the form of the pint-sized Lexus UX. However, its price positioning pits it against high-spec versions of the related VW T-Roc as well as the Mazda CX-30, along with base versions of larger alternatives such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Volvo XC40.
Does Audi’s baby crossover offer a premium package worthy of your consideration?
While the range kicks off at $43,600 for the base Q2 35 TFSI, the Q2 40 TFSI quattro we have on test starts from $50,600 before on-road costs and options. That’s up $700 on 2021.
Our test car features the Style Package ($2690) which includes bigger wheels, trick Matrix LED headlights, the Audi Virtual Cockpit digital instruments and the black exterior package, along with metallic paint ($1195) and brushed aluminium interior inserts ($370).
It lines up closest to the Lexus UX250h Luxury 2WD ($52,025), though if you want all-paw traction in a UX you need to spend more than $60,000 for one of the e-Four versions of the higher F Sport or Sports Luxury trims.
Audi’s own Q3 35 TFSI starts at $48,300 before on-road costs, and the Q3 40 TFSI quattro kicks off at $55,900. As we’ll get to in the next section, the Q2 requires a few boxes ticked to meet the specification of most rivals.
Other key competitors include the BMW X2 sDrive18i ($49,900) and the Mercedes-Benz GLA200 ($60,688). Within the Volkswagen Group stable, there’s also the Skoda Karoq Sportline 4×4 ($45,990 D/A) and Volkswagen T-Roc 140TSI Sport ($42,700) which share the Audi’s MQB underpinnings as well as its 140kW petrol engine.
Q2 40 TFSI quattro highlights:
- Adjustable drive modes (Audi drive select)
- Power tailgate
- S line exterior package
- Front sports seats
- Paddle shifters
That’s on top of the entry-level Q2 35 TFSI’s standard specification, which includes:
- 8.3-inch MMI navigation system
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (wired)
- DAB+ digital radio
- LED headlights, tail lights and daytime running lights
- Automatic headlights
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Keyless entry and start
- Leather upholstery
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Eight-speaker sound system
- Wireless phone charging
- Dual-zone climate control
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Electromechanical parking brake
- Ambient lighting
The Style package ($2690) adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Matrix LED headlights
- 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster
- Extended black exterior trim
Audi has certainly improved on the Q2’s value equation since it first launched, though the spec sheet still has glaring omissions even in 40 TFSI quattro guise.
To get adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and auto-dimming side mirrors you need to tick the box for the Premium Package ($2950), which also adds semi-autonomous parking assist, Hold assist, rear privacy glass, a beefier 10-speaker Audi sound system, and heated front seats.
It seems a little ridiculous, frankly, given the bulk of the Q2’s rivals offer full safety suites as standard.
The Audi Q2 wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing conducted in 2016.
It received an adult occupant protection score of 93 per cent, a child occupant protection score of 86 per cent, a pedestrian protection score of 70 per cent and a safety assist score of 60 per cent. The five-star rating doesn’t apply to the SQ2, which remains untested by ANCAP.
All Audi Q2 models come standard with the following safety features:
- AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Front, front-side and curtain airbags
- Reversing camera
- Front and rear parking sensors
Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and hill-hold assist are all oddly relegated to the options list on the 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI quattro.
Disappointingly, not much has changed in the Q2’s cabin since its initial launch.
While other models in the Audi range have received mid-life refreshes that bring updated cabin layouts and new infotainment software, the only noticeable change for the Q2 inside is the new gearshift.
The old-gen A3’s dashboard remains, though not quite as well-finished as its passenger car equivalent. The knurled rotary dials and clicky switchgear are carryover strengths, as are the well laid-out dash and quality touch points.
However, there are more hard, scratchy plastics on the mid to low sections of the dashboard and doors (where the previous A3 did not), and the MMI navigation system and Virtual Cockpit persist with previous-generation software.
For some, this will be a plus given the MMI rotary controller soldiers on, though it also means the smaller 8.3-inch screen seems a little old-hat, and you don’t get touchscreen capability or wireless smartphone mirroring like you do in the Q3.
The circular air vents with ring controls feel good though, and the creamy leather steering wheel feels expensive in the hand. Up front is where you want to be in the Q2.
Drivers and passengers are treated to well-bolstered and supportive seats with a wide range of manual adjustment. It’s a shame Audi still doesn’t offer the Q2 with electric seat adjustment and memory settings.
The aforementioned Virtual Cockpit is still one of the nicest displays in the business, despite running old mapping and infotainment menus, and there’s padded leatherette elbow rests on the doors and between the front seats.
Storage isn’t a strong point, though. The cupholders ahead of the shifter are fine, with a little slot for your key, but the skinny shelf behind them doesn’t fit much, and the wireless charger under the front-centre armrest is redundant when using wired smartphone mirroring – the cables can get a bit messy there too.
The second row, likewise, is nothing to rave about. But that’s also to be expected for a city-sized crossover.
Headroom is fine but leg- and knee room for taller adults behind taller drivers is tight, and there’s no rear air vents. Rear occupants do have access to USB charge ports and a 12V socket, as well as map pockets on the seat backs.
Kiddies are catered for with ISOFIX anchor points on the outboard seating positions, and there’s top-tether points for all three seats.
The Q2’s boot measures 355L in quattro guise, as the all-wheel drive hardware eats into the cargo area. It’s definitely on the smaller side of things, even compared to some small hatchbacks.
Fold the 60:40-split rear seats down and that expands to 1000 litres. There’s no spare wheel either, just a tyre repair kit.
Power in the Q2 40 TFSI quattro comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, generating 140kW (4200-6000rpm) and 320Nm (1500-4200rpm). Drive is sent to a quattro on-demand all-wheel drive system through a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic.
It’s a version of the motor used in the related Skoda Karoq Sportline 4×4 and the VW T-Roc 140TSI Sport, and beyond that it’s a detuned version of the famed EA888 engine that does duty in the VW Golf GTI.
Audi claims the Q2 40 TFSI quattro can accelerate in a hot hatch-like 6.5 seconds, up to a top speed of 228km/h.
Fuel use, meanwhile, is rated at a respectable 7.0L/100km on the combined cycle, with the help of idle stop/start technology. The fuel tank is quoted at 55L.
While pitched as an in-vogue high-riding crossover, the Audi Q2 has plenty in common with my Golf GTI – right down to the chassis and base engine.
It’s also a physically smaller vehicle with a smaller footprint, and feels as much once you hit the road.
The 2.0-litre turbo is a great fit for the Q2, offering hot hatch-like performance when you want it, and everyday drivability when you need it. It’s similar to the praise we’ve given the Karoq and T-Roc with the same engine, though I reckon Audi’s S tronic dual-clutch auto is better calibrated for smoothness and refinement.
Having all-wheel drive as a safety net gives added peace of mind and extra grip on loose surfaces in the wet, but you’d need to be driving well beyond Australian speed limits to really find the limitations of the Q2’s platform.
Despite its more urban-focused intentions, the solid MQB foundations mean the Q2 is more than happy to sit at triple figures on the freeway, and the meaty low-range torque (from just 1500rpm) makes for effortless driving on the open road.
A 0-100 claim of 6.5 seconds is nothing to sneeze at, making it as quick as a Polo GTI and not far off a Golf GTI, but the Audi’s drivetrain has been tuned for smoothness and it feels as such.
While the powertrain and underpinnings give it all-round capability, the ride and cabin refinement beyond city limits leaves a little to be desired, even if the vehicle’s size and price point mean it’s not meant to be a cruiser.
The fixed-rate suspension is on the firmer side, particularly on the optional 19-inch alloys seen here, and tyre roar is noticeable particularly over coarse-chip surfaces.
It’s a shame Audi doesn’t offer the option of adaptive dampers like overseas markets, because Volkswagen Group products fitted with the technology tend towards pliancy in Comfort mode, and firm up nicely in Sport or Dynamic as Audi labels it.
Speaking of the different modes, the Audi Drive Select with its Efficiency, Balanced and Dynamic modes tailors the drivetrain and steering weight accordingly. You can also toggle individual settings with the additional Individual mode – I just left it in Balanced unless I wanted a to prime the Q2 for a spirited punt.
The Q2 feels like a taut little Golf or A3 from a handling perspective, it tucks in nicely and despite its higher ride height manages body roll admirably. It lays the foundation for the SQ2 hot SUV after all, so this warm model strikes a good balance.
In typical Audi fashion the steering is quite light and doesn’t offer the most feedback, but the trade-off is that it’s a cinch to manoeuvre around town.
Our test car’s lack of optional assistance systems means I can’t comment on the performance of the available adaptive cruise and lane-keep systems, but previous experience with the pre-facelift model tells me they’ll work well like most Volkswagen Group models with similar technology.
The standard ‘Side Assist’ blind-spot monitoring works well, especially given the Q2’s thick C-pillar which hinders over-the-shoulder visibility. I enjoyed the Matrix LED lights in the dead of night on poorly-lit country highways.
So the Q2 is a pretty fun drive, but it’s compromised in ways which detract from the premium badging.
From January 1, 2022, all Audi models are covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty which matches the longer programs offered by Genesis, Lexus, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. It also now aligns with the five-year warranties from its Volkswagen and Skoda group mates.
Audi offers five-year ‘Genuine Care’ service plans, covering the first five years or 75,000km – whichever comes first. For the Q2, this package is priced at $2320.
We saw an indicated 7.4L/100km during our week of testing, covering 540km including a mix of daily commuting to and from the CarExpert and extended freeway stints – a return trip to Phillip Island was around 260km of highway driving alone.
Not bad given the performance on offer.
The Q2 on its merits is a decent little crossover, blending the ride height and styling of an SUV with desirable features typical of an entry-level premium hatchbacks.
It also offers punchy performance with pointy handling, and it’s more than capable of venturing beyond the confines of suburbia should you do the odd road trip – just make sure you pump up the stereo to drown out the tyre roar.
However, in trying to please everyone there are some significant compromises that would leave me questioning its advantages over the similarly-priced new-generation Audi A3 with the same drivetrain.
It’s still running the previous-generation Audi interior design and infotainment, which makes it come across as dated compared to the rest of the range. It’s small in the boot and back seat, and short on amenities like rear air vents if you carry people and stuff often.
The lack of some assistance features as well as Virtual Cockpit even on the $50,000 Q2 40 TFSI quattro also seems rude. Once you spec it in line with most rivals you’re looking at a $55,000-$60,000 car. I’d argue at that price point, you’re better off with a Q3.
Spec it with the Premium Package and it makes a lot more sense, though perhaps the best Q2 is the base 35 TFSI with with the same Premium Package, which comes in a few grand under $50,000 and offers decent performance with its more efficient 1.5 TFSI petrol engine – sans all-wheel drive.
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MORE: Everything Audi Q2