Why would I buy it?
- Potent powertrain, good ride and handling combination
- Compact dimensions
- Solid German build-quality
Why would I avoid it?
- Dated cabin as compared to newer Audis
- Lacks features available in cars with half the price
- Higher spec variants are expensive
Consider the Audi Q2 as a ‘high-riding European supermini’ and a ‘raised hot hatch’, if you will. Only then does the Q2 makes sense for what it offers. Like a hot hatch, it is undoubtedly fun to drive, the ‘hot’ part fulfilled by its potent TFSI/DCT powertrain paired to Quattro. And the lack of features and an exorbitant asking price is justifiable by something which is more performance-oriented than a regular compact crossover.
Engine and Performance
Power for the Q2 comes from the tried-and-tested 2.0-litre EA888 TFSI unit which also does duties in many other cars under the Volkswagen Group umbrella. It is good for 188bhp at 4,200rpm while the torque is rated at 320Nm accessible from 1,500rpm. All of the firepower is channelled to the front-based Quattro AWD system through a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic. Since the Q2 takes a CBU route to India, this similar configuration has been offered in the international markets for quite some time now.
This means that the refinement levels of the motor are top-notch. It’s a proven engine and has won many laurels in its long years of service. Surprisingly, its punchy nature doesn’t become evident right off the line. In fact, it feels pretty docile and usable at low revs. But go hard on the throttle and the motor is capable of gently shoving you back into the seat and catapulting forward in a linear fashion. You’d have to wait a moment before that happens though, for the turbo takes its time to spool up which happens closer to 2,000rpm. But post that, the sprightly and high-revving nature of the TFSI wants to race towards the redline at any given chance. As for the performance, Audi claims a 0-100kmph time in just 6.5 seconds. And the Baby Q can reach top speeds of 228kmph.
Complementing the engine is VW Group’s eminent seven-speed DCT unit. There won’t be much disagreement when talking about this gearbox’s seamless and lightning-quick shifting. Be it ambling around at city speeds or going wild when the lights turn green, the DCT is seamless and responsive. Even in quick kickdown, it's smooth and unannounced. But if we are to nitpick, the only time this gearbox won’t be its usual quick-self (it’d still be seamless nonetheless) is if it’s caught by surprise when pushed hard in the efficiency/comfort mode.
There’s also a sport and a manual mode with paddle shifter. In the former, the gearbox holds on to a cog for slightly longer to give you an extra shove. And the paddle shifters had little to no lag when shifting. This brings us to Audi’s Drive Select driving modes. There are five driving modes available here – efficiency, comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual. Each mode can alter two parameters – engine/gearbox and steering – with three levels of configuration – comfort, auto, and dynamic. In the efficiency or comfort mode, the engine feels rather restrained. But shift to dynamic mode, and there’s a slight eagerness added to the throttle response. As for the sound, it’s not the most sonorous motor.
Ride and Handling
Being an Audi, the Q2 rides like how a proper Q car’s ought to. It feels solid, absorbing everything from small creases to erratic irregularities despite its underlying stiff setup. Going over crater-sized potholes didn’t bother the Q2 much either, thanks to its 200mm ground clearance. Even the poise of a solid German car is felt at highway speeds. It’s surprising how the European suspension setup of the Q2, which hasn’t been altered for the Indian markets, performs fairly well on our roads.
That said, there’s slight body roll present but nothing that would upset its hot hatch demeanour. And the grippy tyres coupled to Quattro add confidence when you want to push the Q2 through some corners. We couldn’t take the Q2 to some rougher terrains to gauge its off-road capabilities. But we assume that it could easily tackle a rally stage without breaking a sweat.
When in the efficiency or comfort mode, the steering feels light and easy to maneuver at slower speeds. But it weighs up considerably when you dial it to dynamic. One issue here is that the steering in dynamic mode feels too heavy for city usage. Solution – the individual mode. Since it lets you select a different setting for steering and engine, it’s best to keep the former in comfort and the latter in the dynamic for an ameliorate combination. That said, the steering is slightly slow off centre but past that it’s direct and helps the Q2 change directions without much delay. Lastly, the brakes on our test car also managed to impress with its strong bite and no sign of fading even after an entire day of driving.
Interior Space and Quality
Sit inside the Q2, which is fairly easy to get into, and you are reminded that this is not the modern Audi cabin. It oozes quality nonetheless, but you are constantly reminded that the newer Four Rings model have a much more sophisticated and modern cabin. Whereas, what you get here is a half a decade old interior with bits and pieces shared with some Volkswagen models. Keep that thought aside for a while and you’d notice how well this cabin has aged. Not surprisingly then the decade-old yet clutter-free layout is reminiscent of a time when Audi used to make the R8. So, resemblance like the flatbottom steering, centre console, or that unique orb for a gear knob harks back to the last generation of RS models.
The surface on the inside feels tactile and built-to-last. Meanwhile, the seats offer good support, but when paying upwards of half a crore we expected at least electric adjustments. Otherwise, visibility is good and you sit higher than a usual sedan/hatchback which helps too. The centre console is laid out with the right number of buttons and switches – any more and it would have felt cluttered. This includes a control for MMI screen stacked atop the dash. It isn’t a touch unit and has a dated interface. And we wish it gave out more information too. Another highlight is the all-digital instrument cluster with configurable views, but it seems a tad inferior in terms of graphics when compared to the screen in other Audis. As for practicality, there’s ample space around the centre console, under the armrest, and on door pockets for all your knick-knacks.
Move to the back seat and space here is good enough for two adults. There’s just enough headroom for me (I am 5.5’) and sufficient knee space too. But more under-thigh support was needed. Weirdly though the backrest angle felt quirkily upright, robbing you of the expected comfort for a long haul. Boot space of 400+ litres is large and usable with no obstruction and low loading lip height. And if the need arises, the back seat gets 40:20:40 split-fold, expanding the cargo space up to 1,050 litres.
Features and Equipment
Included in the feature list of top-spec Q2 are multifunction LED headlamps and taillamps, large sunroof, leather-wrapped steering, digital driver’s display, MMI system with navigation and smartphone connectivity, wireless charger, two-zone climate control, a rearview camera, and ambient lighting. In terms of safety, there’re six airbags, TPMS, ABS with ESC, head restrain, ISOFIX, and an electric parking brake.
Things the Q2 misses out on includes electric front seats, touchscreen system, connectivity features, a 360-degree camera, and we’d have liked larger sunroof, better graphics for digital driver’s display, better-looking wheels, and some stylish body kit to go with it.
What's absolutely likeable about the Q2 is the way it drives. You buy the Audi Q2 for its powertrain and it drives just like a European supermini should, with an added fun-to-drive factor. Although it’s a crossover, it’s best not to consider it one. Then there’s the price tag. This top-spec model, with all its bells and whistles, is close to Rs 62 lakh, on-road Mumbai. That’s a lot of money for not a lot of car. There are viable options in India for a significantly lesser price. And the Q2 needs to be better equipped still to justify that price tag.
Another turn down is the fact that Audi didn’t bring in the facelifted Q2 to India which is already out in the international markets. For what it is, the Q2 makes sense for someone who loves driving and wants an Audi parked in the driveway.