AUDI has lifted the lid on its go-fast version of the Q2 compact SUV ahead of its first public showing at the Paris motor show this week, revealing performance stats that elevate the entry-level crossover hatch deep into sports car territory.
Thanks to a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine pinched from the Golf R the SQ2 sends 220kW and 400Nm to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with Audi claiming that up to 100 percent of that power can be sent to the rear axle if traction disappears at the front.
While we’ll have to wait to get our hands on the car to judge its corner-carving ability, Audi claims the SQ2 will have stout straight-line credentials. Allegedly able to crack 100km/h from a standstill in 4.8 seconds, that puts the SQ2 a tenth of a second faster than a dual-clutch-equipped Porsche 718 Cayman.
The current hot-hatch king as judged by Wheels, the Hyundai i30 N, will do the sprint in 6.2 seconds with a manual ‘box, while the Golf R which the SQ2 borrows its engine from takes 5.0 seconds flat with a self-shifting unit. The Mercedes-AMG GLA45, arguably the SQ2’s closest rival currently on sale, is line-ball to 100km/h with an identical 4.8-second sprint time.
Top speed of the SQ2 is electronically limited to 250km/h.
The Q2’s performance flagship will be identifiable on the road by the SQ2 badging, swollen bumpers, a unique grille with vertical slats, a rear spoiler, 20mm lower ride height and a quartet of exhaust tips. Rolling stock will measure either 18- or 19-inches.
Read next: 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA Review
Cruelly, Audi has only released a single official image of the SQ2 – the rest should arrive once it makes its global debut at the Paris motor show tomorrow evening.
Changes inside the cabin include Audi Sport staples such as a black headliner, leather/Alcantara seats, and a thick-rimmed, D-shaped steering wheel. European cars will have Audi’s virtual cockpit available as an option when the SQ2 goes on sale in that market sometime in early 2019.
An even hotter RS Q2 is rumoured to join the SQ2 later in the vehicle’s lifespan, likely borrowing the rip-snorting 294kW five-cylinder engine from the RS3 for some extra mechanical potency.
If and when the SQ2 arrives in Australia, it will have to face-off against BMW’s X2 M35i, which also uses a 2.0-litre turbo four-pot to send 225kW and 450Nm to all four wheels. Despite the power advantage, BMW’s claimed 0-100km/h time for its hotted up small SUV is a tenth of a second slower to 100km/h than Audi’s challenger.