Audi is on a model offensive spree lately. And we saw no less than five new models being added to the line-up last year. Apart from the flagships like the A8 and Q8, and performance-oriented models like the RS7 and RS Q8, the German carmaker also introduced the smallest Q model in India. This is the Q2 and it's now on sale for a starting price of Rs 35.02 lakh (ex-showroom). So let's take a detailed look at it and see whether it is a better alternative to other similarly-priced full-size seven-seater SUVs, or it’s just a compromised Four Rings.
1. Potent Powertrain
With a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine sitting under the hood, the Q2 is more powerful than the other entry-level models Audi India had in its line-up a few years back. The 190bhp of power is accessible to right foot whereas a max torque of 320Nm is available from 1500rpm. Combine it with a quick and seamless S-tronic gearbox sending power to Quattro all-wheel-drive system, and you have yourself a lethal combination.
To put things into perspective, the Audi Q2 is capable of hitting a 100kmph from a standstill in just 6.5 seconds. Keep it pinned and the baby Q will clock a top speed of 228kmph. What’s more, this is a well-proven powertrain having done duty in a zillion models under the VW Group umbrella in the European markets. As for the way it drives, the Q2 has a punchy nature and wants to be kept on the boil all the time. This doesn’t mean it is demanding to drive either. Keep it below 2000rpm and it is as easy to drive as the next car. Yet it packs a punch to shove you into the seats and hurl you forward in no time. Then there’s the gearbox. There aren’t many gearboxes currently available that are as smooth and equally quick as this one. What’s more, it’s also got solid brakes to go with the pocket-rocket demeanour
2. Small Package, Big Fun
In terms of dimension, the Q2 is no bigger than the Creta. In fact, it is almost 90mm shorter than the Hyundai. But the Q2 is more of a hot hatch on stilts rather than a crossover. That is evident in the way it is tuned. It has a poise of a proper German-made car and the fun-to-drive character isn’t hard to miss. The all-wheel-drive layout is not for off-roading but for taking corners at a speed you didn’t know was possible.
And if you do happen to encounter bad roads, there’s 200mm of ground clearance to keep you from clenching your jaw. Despite the European-spec suspension setup, the Q2 feels solid while going over erratic bumps. Even going over large potholes isn't bothersome. We reckon the Q2 can easily take on a typical rally stage with little modifications.
3. Built Quality and Practicality
One thing that the Q2 ranks high in is its built quality. It’s easy to get inside and there’s solid feel exuding from each material right from the moment you close the door shut. There’s a charm of the clutter-free cabin taking inspiration from last-gen RS models. Take a look at that orb-gearknob and flat-bottom steering wheel and you’d know what we are talking about. All the buttons, knobs and switches have a tactile feel to them.
Even the seats offer good support overall with good visibility all around. It’s joined by Audi’s Virtual-Cockpit all-digital instrument cluster with configurable setup offering a host of information. Even the MMI setup on the floating screen is easy to navigate through the circular dial (although a touchscreen is sorely missed). There’s storage available all around them and on door pockets for all your knick-knacks. Even the second-row backrest has 40-20-40 split-fold for added practicality expanding the 400litres of boot space to a whopping 1050litres.
4. Decently Decked-up
In terms of features, Audi is offering the Q2 with six airbags, ABS with ESC, head restraints, ISOFIX, middle rear headrest with three-point seatbelt, TPMS, multifunction LED headlamps and taillamps, a rearview camera, and electronic parking brakes. Apart from that, other convenience features include an electric sunroof, leather upholstery, navigation and smartphone connectivity, wireless charger, two-zone climate control, and ambient lighting.
5. Typical Audi Styling
Look at the Q2 and its hard to identify it as anything other than an Audi. There’s a massive, blacked-out grille upfront with equally large air dams on the lower bumpers. Those square-ish headlamps have that intricate LED lighting signature we have come to associate with cars from Ingolstadt. Thankfully, there’s no black body cladding around the side that lends the Q2 a much better stance. But the floating C-pillar does look a bit odd.
At the back, the subtle-looking T-style LED signature looks nice, especially at night. In the meanwhile, the roof-mounted spoiler takes your eyes off the rather small rear windscreen. Rounding things off are those dual exhaust tips sticking out on only one side in a typical hot-hatch fashion.
1. Pricey Package
Although prices for the Q2 start close to Rs 40 lakh (on-road), the top-spec model that we have here can be yours for a hefty price tag of Rs 62 lakh, on-road Mumbai. That is a lot of money for not a lot of car. And yet it misses out on many features and equipment that are expected from a car of its class. These high prices may be due to the CBU route it takes to India. But it’s not a justifiable price for what the Q2 has on offer. Especially knowing the fact that there’s an updated model on sale in the international markets.
2. Dated Cabin Missing Out on Features
The cabin of the Q2 feels like it belongs to the last-generation of Audis. Because it simply is. The design on the inside reminds you that the newer Four Rings model have evolved to a great extent and now sport a much more sophisticated and modern cabin. In addition to that, the half a decade old interior shares its elements with some (much cheaper) Volkswagen models. We also think it doesn’t score very high in terms of cabin space.
As mentioned earlier, the Q2 feature list has missed out on some very important features that are expected from a car when shelling out close to Rs 60 lakh. This includes basic equipment like electric front seats, touchscreen system, new-age connectivity features, and a 360-degree camera. Apart from that, it could do with better graphics for digital driver’s display, stylish set of wheels and a body kit.
You should buy the Audi Q2 considering it as a high-riding hot hatch rather than a crossover that it is projected as. It packs in a powerful engine, quick gearbox and AWD combination, superb ride quality, and a compact dimension adding to its fun-to-drive character. And since the Q2 trades off its feature list for this ballistic performance, it also justifies its high asking price. What works in Audi Q2’s favour then, is its driving dynamics and should be the sole reason for buying one.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi