Due to be released in Europe this November, the Audi Q2 will be the first-ever compact SUV fielded by the German luxury marque in its 47-year history.
Pitched as a high-riding companion to the Audi A1 compact hatch, the Q2 will be targeted at a younger demographic as a ‘gateway’ model to Audi ownership. If rumours are to be believed, a hotter “SQ2” version will also arrive to whet the appetites of rev-heads.
While Audi has made no official mention of its plans for a performance Q2 variant, the presence of the SQ5, SQ7 and the RS Q3 (below) in Audi’s existing SUV stable sets a precedent. Audi is already fond of high-tuned SUVs, so the addition of an SQ2 seems like a no-brainer.
An RS Q2 has already been rumoured in the French automotive press, but the word on the street – courtesy of UK outlet Auto Express – is that a slightly tamer SQ2 is on the way first.
According to Audi’s board member for technical development Stephan Knirsch, an SQ2 has potential for the brand.
“It is something we’re looking at,” Knirsch said. “It would be relatively easy to do with MQB. The Q2 shares a lot with the A3, but we have to see what appetite there is for the more expensive Q2 models first.”
MQB is the Volkswagen Group’s modular chassis architecture, which uses a shared component set and a scalable “toolkit” to allow many different model lines to utilise the same basic underpinnings.
It means the unassuming Q2 compact SUV could conceivably be equipped with the 210kW/380Nm turbocharged 2.0 litre and quattro AWD driveline as the Audi S3 (above), which is also built on the MQB platform.
Adding an SQ2 to its product portfolio would help Audi’s fortunes in the performance SUV stakes. Rival Mercedes-Benz currently has four AMG-badged offroaders in the GLA45, GLE63, GLS63 and G63, while BMW has the X4 M40i, X5 M and X6 M.
With an SQ2 in its arsenal Audi would also boast the smallest performance SUV on the market – the Q2 measures 4.19m long, around 20cm shorter than a Mercedes-AMG GLA45 – while the price of entry would be substantially cheaper than the $81,510 Audi RS Q3, likely closer to the S3’s $61,100 sticker.
When will it come? Hard to say given Audi has yet to confirm whether it’s been green-lit yet, but with the regular Q2 range not due to go on sale overseas until the fourth quarter this year, a 2018 debut for the SQ2 would seem like a safe bet.