Test Drive by Graham Breeze
Audi has broken fresh ground by launching the new Q2 into the premium SUV sector, convinced the model will find a new niche market.
Because the Q2 is the first real luxury vehicle to arrive in this growing sector, bristling with class-leading technology and targeting the driver who demands thevery best in connectivity levels.
The Q2 was revealed to UK motoring journalists this week and will appear in showroom s from November 12 with Audi bosses recognising the growth forecasts
for the compact SUV segment and majoring on distinctive designs and high levels of functionality.
The suits at Audi are convinced there's a market for a luxury small SUV with more and more drivers demanding the best possible technology, normally available from bigger and more expensive "fulI-size" models in the German manufacturer's garage.
And to make the model an even more attractive proposition Audi offers a host of customisation options aimed at making every model mirror individual tastes -incorporating connectivity and infotainment.
So to make the new car stand out in any company you can add Edition #1 specification, which means an individual colour combination both inside and outthough SE, Sport nor S-Line are lacking in road presence with contrasting lower bumpers, side skirts, wheel arch trims while the signature S line full body colourfinish further enhances appeal.
The engine range initially comprises 150PS 1.4TFSi, 116PS 1.6TDi and150PS 2.0 TDi with an interesting1.0 TFSi to follow later this year116PS and a 190PS 2.0TFSi in 2017.
The new Q2 is a new entry point for the Q-Series, providing genuine five-seat space and sits between the A3 Sportback and Q3 with Audi claiming no direct competitors because of quality levels - and they may just have a case there. There really is nothing like this in the compact SUV sector.
The dash gets "big brother" treatment with all the technology you would expect in a higher segment such as Audi's impressive virtual cockpit feature, superb levels of connectivity and "heads up" as an option.
Audi expect the 1.4 TFSi S-line 150PS to be the best seller, taking 55% of sales and also predict petrol versions will outsell diesel, reflecting current trends.
The six-speed manual hits the road at £26,180 but you can expect to pay over £30,000 if you want to add all the technology on offer. And it still amazes me that on a £30,000 car you still only get half a tank of petrol when buying.
But you do get a top sped of 131mph and 0-62mph in just 8.5seconds, while producing only 128g/km of emissions. You also get a car that's a joy to drive,sticking like glue on tight country roads and displaying all the agility you are likely to ever need on the motorway.
The Q2 really is a lifestyle choice. The motoring world is obsessed with making things smaller, which equals better in most cases, and when making thoseimportant buying choices today's owner demands state-of-the-art technology.
It's outrageous to suggest you are creating a whole new sector - isn't it? But it's hard to contradict the team at Audi and also hard to see the direct opposition.
Mini Countryman Cooper S and Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 Sport are used to illustrate running cost comparisons but that's where the comparison really ends.
Leading trade guide CAP Monitor predicts the 1.6TDI 116PS Sport will be the most economical model in the range but expect the 1.4 TFSi to be the best seller. It's got the lot - looks, driving quality, comfort, space and value for money.
With sales in the whole compact SUV sector predicted to explode in the next 12 months Audi may have launched the new Q2 at just the right time. Time will tell but the Audi suits haven't got a lot wrong lately.