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Audi Q2 Sport 1.4 TFSI Cylinder on Demand 150PS

Click to view picture gallery“Audi has an amazing knack of
  producing a never-ending stream
  of desirable cars — the latest to
  appear in showrooms across the
  UK is their chic all-new compact
  SUV, the Q2

AND, AS YOU'D EXPECT of something wearing four interlinked rings on its nose, it's a premium product that's already seduced many a driver of, amongst other things, Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes GLA models. And with prices starting from £21K, who wouldn't be tempted?

It may be 'topped' by a 3, a 5 and a 7 (all Qs, of course) but the new Q2 shouldn't be underestimated when it comes to road presence. Size-wise it might only measure the shorter side of 4.2 metres from nose to tail but its five-door bodyshell is fronted by one of Audi's trademark deep single-frame octagonal grilles flanked by sweeping headlight units with distinctive-pattern LED daytime running lights.

And despite riding tall, and aided by the tapering roofline, there's a low-slung look to its lines. Pronounced corners are emphasised by attractively bold nose and tail light units and the subtle geometric chamfering along the waistline adds an understated flash of distinction; as too do the dark metallic-finish wheelarch inserts, lower door protection cladding and bumpers. The tail sports a neatly-integrated roof spoiler that along with the full-width rear screen and layered horizontal tailgate, bumper and diffuser styling creates a neatly hunkered-down look.

If you feel the entry-level
one-litre turboed
three-pot Q2 doesn’t
have sufficient wine-bar
bragging rights then
there’s plenty more
from a
1.4-litre with 150hp
to a 2.0-litre packing
The single definitive visual flourish that instantly identifies a Q2 are its signature C-pillar 'blades' (our test car's were finished in gleaming silver but they are available in various colours and even carbon-fibre, and can be changed by your helpful Audi dealer).

If your heart's set on standing out from the crowd, our test car's Tango Red metallic paintwork combined with Ice Silver metallic C-pillar blades takes some beating.

And should you feel the entry-level one-litre turboed three-pot Q2 doesn't have sufficient wine-bar bragging rights then there's plenty more powerplants to choose from: a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol-drinking TFSI with 150hp; a 1.6-litre turbodiesel (115hp); a 2.0 TDI with 150hp and all-wheel drive; and a 4WD 2.0-litre petrol packing a serious 190hp under its bonnet.

Underpinning the Q2 is the same platform that's used by the A3 hatchback but Audi's smallest 'Q' benefits from a wider track and stance that compensates for its SUV height. The result is a well-fettled dynamic character — the steering is quick and meaty and keeps you in touch with what's happening at the sharp-end and, combined with the Q2's compact footprint, serves up nimble handling.

Reduced to a sound-bite, the Q2 is an 'easy rider' that, slow or fast, is always a pleasure to drive. And its 'pointy' and sure-footed front-end — with minimal body-lean during cornering — can always be relied upon to slap a smile on your face.

Audi's five-mode Drive Select system (Auto, Comfort, Dynamic, Efficiency, and Individual) is something else that keen drivers will enjoy — switch to Dynamic mode and the TFSI feels raring to go; even with front-wheel drive you really do feel connected to the tarmac.

Left in Comfort the ride was more than satisfactory for an SUV, and turned bad roads into eminently tolerable ones while keeping the higher-riding Q2 dynamically on the ball and agreeably agile.

Left in Comfort the ride
was more than
satisfactory for an SUV,
and turned bad roads
into eminently tolerable
ones while keeping the
higher-riding Q2
dynamically on the ball
and agreeably agile...”
Add to that the high-set driving position and you're guaranteed a very satisfactory urban driving experience. Motorways? It eats 'em for breakfast; set the cruise to the legal limit and the Q2 will run tirelessly all day long, as stable as it is quiet. Big car feel? The Q2's got it in spades!

This is an Audi, so of course you're expecting a smart cabin; but even so the Q2 lays it out with conspicuous style — the front sport seats are upholstered in black Milano leather with red contrast stripes and stitching (an AbFab must-have £1,300 option).

The clean-cut fascia — sliced side-to-side by a dramatic 3D-woven-effect metallic strip that matches the exterior red paintwork (also applied to the door pulls and central tunnel edging) — features prominent eyeball air vents, a slim stand-alone infotainment screen mounted top-dead-centre of the dash and smart-looking dials with can't-be-beaten-for-clarity white-on-black markings and mini LED scales for temp and fuel. Overall the fit and finish is first-rate — and all as satisfying to touch as it is to look at.

Taking up just 4.2 metres of road space doesn't stop the Q2 feeling welcomingly roomy inside; a feeling boosted by its decent headroom and upright SUV packaging. Drivers of all shapes and sizes can easily set a comfortable driving position; held in place by well-judged bolstering, you sit high with a commanding view over the profiled bonnet with good all-round visibility — all of which makes the Q2 oh-so-easy to place and to park.

Being an Audi, there's plenty of hi-tech kit covering everything from safety to Comms including Audi's straightforward MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch infotainment screen through which most of the car's functions are controlled, front sports seats, Drive Select (five selectable driving modes including the customisable Individual) plus the usual complement of airbags as well as traction and stability control, and Audi's Pre Sense pedestrian warning that includes Autonomous Emergency Braking and which will apply the brakes for a non-attentive driver if the system detects a pedestrian stepping out in front of the Q2.

A particularly neat
feature than many will
probably miss are the
extended lower door
panels that cover the sills
to keep them clean in all
weathers — so no more
dirty trouser legs,
stockings or leggings...”
And you can also take for granted all the 'essentials' such as dual-zone climate control, one-shot auto up/down windows (all four), power-adjustable heated door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, electric parking brake, 'rain' mode headlights (minimise glare-back on wet streets at night), cruise control, speed-limiter, front and rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipes, three-spoke multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel (including buttons for repeating the last navigation prompt and a driver-designated 'favourite' function), and a multi-configurable driver's trip computer with digital speed readout.

Also standard-fit is a SatNav with 3D mapping, and ample USBs to keep you connected on the move — an appreciated bonus is the three-month subscription to Audi Connect Infotainment Services which provides a 4G Internet connection and access to various apps.

No surprise that there are plenty of boxes to tick in the Q2's options list including for Audi's über-desirable 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital display that replaces the conventional dials and lets you personalise all that's on show including the SatNav mapping, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, lane departure warning, side assist, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic alert (for safer reversing), etc, etc.

A particularly neat feature than many owners will probably miss are the extended lower door panels that cover the sills to keep them clean in all weathers — so no more dirty trouser legs, stockings or leggings.

Those travelling in the rear cabin will be hard put to find a single thing to mutter about: there's headroom to spare and, unexpectedly, even a six-footer can get comfortable behind a similarly-sized driver. Large side windows let in plenty of light and the views out are unrestricted. Relaxing backrest angles are the order of the day with comfort enhanced by plenty of foot room and seats that are as well-shaped and as good to travel in as those up front.

Officially this 1.4 four-
pot is good for 52.3mpg,
and it’s helped in this by
Audi’s Cylinder on
Demand technology that
switches imperceptibly
between two- and four-
cylinder running to save
fuel whenever under
a light load.
But there’s no performance penalty:
the instant you need
powerful acceleration,
it’s there for you...”
A high-lifting and wide opening tailgate gives access to a regular shaped 405-litre boot — a pretty good size given the Q2's modest footprint; drop the rear seatbacks and this jumps to a very practical 1,050 litres.

Boosting the versatility is a two-level boot floor that set to its higher position ensures the loadbay floor is seamlessly flat when the rear seats are folded down; at its lower setting there's some useful extra boot height. Naturally bag hooks are included! And if you're using all the seats for peeps and still need to haul some, then the Q2 will tow a braked 1,500kg.

Likely to be the Q2's most popular powerplant is the 1.4 TFSI. And for good reason — it's a sweet-revving turbocharged direct injection petrol engine with 148bhp (150PS) and an eager nature.

And no shortage of firepower: zero to 62mph is done and dusted in 8.5 seconds and maxed out it will hit 131mph. Peak torque of 184lb ft is on call from just 1,500rpm, so you don't have to crack the whip too much to set a decent pace while the default six-speed manual gearbox comes with a sweet and easy change action.

Officially this 1.4 four-pot is good for 52.3mpg, and it's helped in this by Audi's Cylinder on Demand technology that switches imperceptibly between two- and four-cylinder running to save fuel whenever it's under a light load. And there's no performance penalty either: the instant you need powerful acceleration, it's there for you.

In fact this responsive and refined engine is quite brilliant, punching well above its cubic capacity. During our week driving around West Sussex's winding — and often demanding — back roads, we averaged 43.9mpg although longer runs over more straightforward blacktop saw this nudging up towards the sought-after 50mpg. Emitting 124g/km of CO2, the 1.4 TFSI is free of road tax for the first year, after which you'll pay £110.

Four-ring kerb appeal and thoroughbred brand image, keen handling partnered with a great 1.4-litre petrol engine with decent real-world economy plus important personalisation options makes the Q2 yet another Audi on target to be a sure-fire sales success. ~ MotorBar
Audi Q2 Sport 1.4 TFSI Cylinder on Demand 150PS | £23,715
Maximum speed: 131mph | 0-62mph: 8.5 seconds | Test Average: 43.9mpg
Power: 148bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2: 124g/km