2016 Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI S line first drive review
With the Q2, Audi is the latest maker to join the booming premium compact crossover sector. Rivals such as the Mini Countryman and Mercedes GLA had better watch out
- Entry-level Audi crossover priced from £20,230
- Standard features focus on tech, personalisation and safety
- UK order books open in August, first deliveries in November
It’s a segment that continues to grow in the UK, pioneered by cars such as the Nissan Qashqai, replicated by premium rivals such as the Mini Countryman, and now followed by Audi.
To join the fray, the company is introducing a car that is similar in length to a three-door A3 hatchback (4190mm vs 4237mm), yet moves away from the company’s often derivative, cookie-cutter approach to car design. Instead, the Q2 boasts a comparatively crazy bone structure, with sheer surfaces in the doors, a bluff, single-frame grille, polygon shapes in the LED lights and, in a stylistic nod to the R8 supercar, a pair of contrasting-colour C-pillars. This is Audi’s idea of wild.
However, the way the Q2 drives remains sensible and surefooted. The steering is light and direct, if slightly numb; the body control is taut; and, the ride quality, although firm on 18-inch wheels, remains comfortable on our test car’s optional adaptive dampers. It’s clear the Q2 hasn’t been engineered to get your pulse racing, but focuses instead on a feeling of solidity.
All versions receive Audi Pre Sense with pedestrian recognition, a safety system that can monitor potential low-speed accidents and initiate hard braking, but optional safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistant and traffic sign recognition also work imperceptibly.
Only a few areas disappoint: despite significantly better rear cabin space, the Q2 cannot match the boot volume of the Mini Countryman (405- vs 450 litres); the thick C-pillars impede rear visibility; and, the driving position, although set marginally higher than a hatchback, never feels SUV-tall.
- Model: Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI (150PS) S line
- Price: £27,730
- Engine: 4 cyls, 1395cc turbo, 7-speed S tronic
- Power/Torque: 148bhp/184lb ft
- 0-62mph: 8.5secs
- Top speed: 131mph
- Economy: 54.3mpg (17-inch alloys)
- CO2/BIK tax liability: 119g/km/20%
- Boot space: 405/1050 litres
Mercedes also makes a taller version of its A-Class hatchback, with better ground clearance and more forgiving suspension
For young families, the Countryman is a welcome addition to the Mini range and is available with four or five seats
Pricier and more predictably styled than the Q2, but a proper SUV that boasts a high-quality cabin and is available with the same 1.4 TFSI engine