Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring


New Audi Q2 set to widen the gap on its (lack of) rivals

Crazy to think that Ingolstadt’s compact SUV technically competes with the Mini Countryman.


If “Audi Q2” didn’t appear in this story’s headline, few would have guessed correctly had we asked what Ingolstadt’s top-selling local model was in the last four months of 2020.

So no surprises to what the correct answer to that question is, but the fact that the boldly styled compact SUV/crossover could usurp Audi traditional top sellers is still rather fascinating. But then again, the compact SUV segment is where the action is and the Q2’s positioning is rather unique as it doesn’t really have a direct rival.

In a league of its own

Falling into what is classified as the Premium A0 SUV segment, the Q2’s closer competitor is the Mini Countryman, which isn’t really a rival at all on a like-for-like basis. What is perceived to be this Audi’s rivals, the Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1, is actually not direct competition on paper as both fall into the premium A1 SUV segment.

“The Q2 offers buyers an entry point into Audi’s Q family. It gives them access to bigger models,” says Asif Hoosen, Head of Sales, Operations and Volume Planning.

Facelift Audi Q2

LED dynamic indicators are now standard

“The segment doesn’t involve huge numbers, but it’s key when you are a major player. We find that buyers who look at the Q2 compare it to the GLA and X1 and not the Mini Countryman. And both those two’s pricing starts at well over R600 000 compared to the Q2’s starting price of R545 500.”

Launch special

With the introduction of the facelifted Q2, Audi has given themselves a very real chance of further increasing its market share in the segment with not only a very attractive product, but also a very competitive launch price. Limited to 220 models, Audi has knocked R26 000 off the price of the Launch Edition, which starts at R519 500.

Available in standard, Advanced and S line guise, the whole line-up utilises one engine option called the 35 TFSI. It is a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine sending 110 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque to the front wheels via an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox.

On the outside, the new Q2 received a few small but noticeable changes. The octagonal Singleframe in the front is lower than before, making the front section appear wider, pentagonal large implied air inlets appear more expressive and the surfaces below the headlights are a more distinct shape. Speaking of headlights, LED technology is now standard across the range with the option of upgrading to Matrix LED.

Nip and tuck

The motif of the polygon has also been applied to the rear. The bumper features an integrated angular diffuser insert with large pentagons on either side. Halogen lights are standard at the rear, with the Advanced and S line derivates featuring LED taillights.

Facelift Audi Q2

Q2 has the option of 19-inch alloy wheels

There are five new colours to choose from: Apple Green, which is making its Audi debut, Manhattan Grey, Navarra Blue, Arrow Grey and Turbo Blue. Depending on trim line or package, the blades on the C-pillars either come in body colour or silver, grey or black.

We were particularly impressed with the Apple Green. It looks really attractive especially in combination with the black elements and 19-inch wheels that form part of the black styling package as shown of these pictures.

If ain’t broke…

Changes on the inside have been kept to the minimum with the jet-like round air vents and the gear lever knob having gone under the knife. The new shift lever has been taken from its bigger sibling, the Q3.

Surprisingly, the rotary selector knob that has been replaced by virtue of a touchscreen infotainment display has been kept, with Audi claiming that Q2 buyers prefer that system.

One addition Audi is very proud to offer in the Q2 is the optional contour ambient lighting package. It offers 10 colours to choose from which also lights up the decorative inserts with light graphic format.

Roomy

Space in the rear is very generous, providing decent head and legroom for adults. The boot offers 405-litres of spaces, which can be extended to 1 050-litres with the rear seats folded flat.

Facelift Audi Q2

Interior has also been subtly revised

To take the guess work out of the optional extras, Audi is offering the Q2 in a choice of four packages: Comfort, Technology and Black Styling, while an Interior S line package is also offered.

Apart from its good looks, comfortable interior and excellent launch price, we were quite impressed with the drive too on the Q2’s national launch in Cape Town last week, tackling a good mixture of roads around Stellenbosch and Paarl.

Smooth sailing

The engine is a beaut and in perfect harmony with a very smooth gearbox. It does what it says on the box with aplomb and should the need arise for some extra oomph to overtake, the powertrain is not shy at all. It might get a tad noisy when your foot gets too heavy, but it does not fail to deliver when expected too.

Audi claims it can get to 100kmh from a standstill in 8.8 sec with a top whack of 213 km/h and we have no reason to doubt these numbers. In fact, the acceleration actually felt a bit sportier than that.

The car feels sure-footed and stays planted around corners, which is no doubt made possible by the standard progressive steering, technology also found on performance Audis. Steering becomes more direct the further the steering wheel is turned which is felt especially on winding roads. And apart from the sportiness it provides on the open roads, it is also greatly beneficial for cornering in the city and maneuvering in and out of parking spots.

Conclusion

Overall, the new Q2 is an attractive offering. By pressing all the right buttons, this premium bay SUV will appeal to more people than predominantly being a niche offering for younger people. The launch price offers great value to something that was already unique to start off with.

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