NEW 2.0-litre petrol 'halo' model brings more oomph to the Q2 line-up
WHAT IS IT?
A more powerful, performance orientated petrol version of Audi’s luxury small SUV. The Q2 arrived at the beginning of 2017 with two variants, the front-wheel-drive 1.4 TFSI Design and 2.0 TDI quattro sport, but this new model introduces Audi’s 2.0 TFSI petrol engine to the range.
WHY WE’RE TESTING IT
We reviewed the Q2 when it arrived early this year and were impressed with its overall design, and performance particularly from the 1.4 TFSI. The petrol turbo provided a perkier ride than the 2.0 TDI, but lacks the quattro drivetrain, so we were keen to see how it would fare with an extra 30kW, 70Nm and all-paw traction.
Audi holds up the Mini Countryman SD All4 as the closest rival, but you can also include the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250, BMW X1 25i and the Volkswagen Tiguan 162 TSI Highline, which shares the Audi’s MQB platform.
THE WHEELS VERDICT
Despite its youthful looks, the Audi Q2 has attracted a diverse range of buyers and the sharper powertrain combined with quattro traction should attract more discerning drivers. The 2.0 TFSI is fun to drive, always has power in reserve and despite oozing urban chic handles rougher country roads with poise.
PLUS: Excellent powertrain; sharp handling; efficiency; equipment
MINUS: Similar price to Q3 equivalent but less practical; tyre noise
THE WHEELS REVIEW
AUDI’s pokiest SUV has for too long lacked poke. The Q2 landed locally a year ago and, although the front-wheel-drive 1.4 TFSI petrol was just perky enough, it still uses a basic torsion bar back-end when even a half-price Volkswagen Golf scores a full multi-link independent rear suspension (IRS).
The pricey and porky 2.0 TDI quattro gained it, but it lacks any sort of real push. Enter the 2.0 TFSI, complete with quattro all-wheel drive and IRS – so, on paper, the Q2 should finally have the performance to match polished, rather than povvo, chassis hardware. The extra 600cc eeks an extra 30kW and 70Nm over the 1.4 TFSI to now tally 140kW/320Nm, with a 6.5-second 0-100km/h now a couple of seconds quicker and the 6.5L/100km combined-cycle consumption 1.2L/100km thirstier.
It’s also a whole 2.3sec faster than the now largely irrelevant 2.0 TDI. The difference is noticeable. There’s plenty of zip off the line and overtaking on narrow country roads isn’t the butt-clenching exercise it is in the diesel that takes longer to wind up.
Throttle response is instant with little sign of turbo lag, and the petrol teams seamlessly with the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch that’s standard on the Q2 trio. The quattro system, which can technically send 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels when needed, permits the throttle to be pedalled nice and early out of corners, and the ride is surprisingly poised – a bit jiggly on optional 19-inch wheels, but reasonably silken on standard 18s, with great control particularly over patchy bitumen at speed.
If it all sounds like a point-and-shoot Audi cliché, that’s because to a degree it is. But there’s an enjoyable cohesion to the 2.0 TFSI quattro where few aspects stand out, but most things gel and nothing dips significantly.
Value is the only real sticking point. For the new year Audi has added LED headlights across the range, but for the $6700 extra over the 1.4 TFSI, the $48,500 2.0 TFSI only adds larger 18-inch alloys (up from 17s), a blind-spot monitor, body-colour and silver exterior trim, and aluminium cabin inlays.
Sat-nav, leather and an electric tailgate are standard, but even Audi’s superb Virtual Cockpit is optional (see sidebar) – and with the same lovely dashboard as the A3, but teamed with hard door trims and deleted rear air-vents compared with that hatchback, more of a lift is needed. Audi refers to the 2.0 TFSI quattro as a halo model, which it isn’t.
But Ingolstadt can get more from this engine, as the S3 shows, so an SQ2 is all but inevitable. This is the Q2 sweet spot for now, then, but another wait will be required for the next power push.
AUDI Q2 2.0 TFSI QUATTRO SPORTS SPECS
Model: Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI quattro S-tronic sport
Engine: 1984cc in-line 4, dohc, 16v, turbo
Max power: 140kW @ 4200-6000rpm
Max torque: 320Nm @ 1500-4200rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h: 6.5sec (claimed)
Fuel economy: 6.5L/100km
On sale: Now