Do you know about that uncomfortable area between a hatchback and an SUV? Audi has not only found a definition for it but has created a car that fits right there. The Audi Q2 is a car with ambition, like a fledgling born into an illustrious family, who is expected to shoulder the family name but doesn’t have the right tools or the ambition to do so. It is the most affordable Q-series Audi out there and bears the four rings, but also shaves off some of the excesses that Audi is known to spoil its drivers with.
Also read: Audi A8L review: A luxury yacht on wheels
The Audi Q2 found its welcoming gateway into India, thanks to regulations that allowed up to 2,500 units of internationally constructed cars to be rolled onto desi streets. What this means is that the Audi Q2 is built in Europe and to a fair extent, it is built for Europe. This brings with it the unfamiliarity in the way the car responds to the driver and accommodates its space-loving occupants.
At the outset, the Q2 is made to attract the younger, first-car customer who loves being behind a wheel that bears a trustworthy logo but can survive without the ‘frills’. It’s a compact car that offers intimate compactness that could be tolerated by a youthful spirit rather than a family of four. It is only 4.2 metres long, a modest front façade, and mild bulges over the wheels.
Many would point towards it and label it a crossover, but that’s saying something, especially to a car that brings Audi’s cred with it. Overall, it looks sharp and capable.
This isn’t a car for the tall and burly. It can fit an average-sized family of four comfortably, but a group of four youths who are out on a Sunday morning drive, better. The seats aren’t powered, so you could find yourself manually fidgeting with them in an Audi. For a first-time car owner, though, this omission could go entirely unnoticed. The dashboard, however, bears striking resemblance to Q2’s elder siblings and cousins. The driver’s position seems elevated, but there’s no touchscreen interface to play around with. As to what you do have, the flat-bottomed steering wheel and the knobs are great to use. The vents can be opened and closed with a classic rotary motion.
The interiors are black and feel nice and luxurious. A great feature is the Audi Virtual Cockpit that allows you to configure and customise the instrument panel according to your preferences. For the drives along the scenic country roads, you have a sunroof that adds magic to your experience.
Surprisingly there are no rear AC vents but Audi has managed to include USB Type C ports. The lack of Q-Series like ‘ample’ space at the rear seats is compensated by good enough boot space, which is over 400 litres. The seats can be folded down to increase your boot space.
There’s a special storage space for a backup tire in a concealed enclosure under the boot floor. Since Audi has endeavoured to make this a driver-focused design, you wouldn’t imagine an Audi Q2 that is chauffeur-driven. Its personality is quite hands-on.
While the Q2 may be unassuming before its contemporaries, it still has German DNA, which means that it is a powerful car to drive around. The 2.0-litre 4-cylinder Turbocharged petrol engine conjures 188bhp at 4,200-6,000 rpm and 320Nm torque at 1,500-4,180 rpm. The all-wheel drive is enjoyed over a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that makes the Q2 an absolute joy to drive. It’s the max you can squeeze out of a 4-cylinder configuration and does pretty well compared to others in this genre. Even though the engine is turbocharged, it doesn’t give you that kick of power when beckoned. Instead, it smoothly sets into motion with surprising agility. Don’t get us wrong — the energy of the car can be felt through and through, especially when the engine revs. For its size and engine, the Q2 promises to reach 0-100kmph in an impressive 6.5 seconds.
Driving and handling the Q2 is a breeze, firstly because of the elevated driving position that it hoists you on. The European influences on the build of the car make it feel a little stiff and less responsive to Indian road conditions than what you may have hoped for. The grip, however, is quite impressive, and this manifests itself around tricky turns. Some would miss the feedback that you would otherwise enjoy on the steering, but that’s when you’re really stretching the legs of the car. This one’s great for a quick drive around town or a nearby holiday ride with the guys, to beat the lockdown blues. Overall, the driving experience can be described as more-than-you-bargained-for. The Quattro profile doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get what the larger siblings of the Q2 will offer you, but you can do just fine with what’s at hand.
The Audi Q2 is made with love. This transcends the limitations of size, luxury, excessive technology, and performance. However, one would expect such a car to be far below Rs45-lakh range, which doesn’t seem to be the case.
If the price could be shaved off, the Audi Q2 would be the runaway best budget-luxury-SUV in India, by a stretch. Or maybe, the only one.
Engine: 1984cc, turbo-charged petrol
Power: 187.74bhp@4200-6000rpm/ 320nm@1500–4180rpm
0 to 100 kmph: 6.5 seconds
Top speed: 218 kmph
Transmission: 7-speed Stronic, AWD
Price: Rs34.99-Rs48.89 Lakh