New Audi Q2 brightens up rainy Goodwood Festival

Audi Q2 – Goodwood FoS

The supermini crossover market is booming. Popularised by the Nissan Juke, the latest addition will come from Audi in the form of the Q2 – and the company has shown it off at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed. With its ‘floating blade’ C-pillar, plenty of colourful trims and finishes and a youthful market to appeal to, the Q2 is what Audi describe as a Trojan Horse – introduced to get new customers into the brand and used to buying Audis.

The sportily-styled Q2 model was revealed first at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. It’s the fourth and smallest member of the Q family, sitting underneath the Q7, Q5, and Q3, and Audi says it will be available to order in July before hitting the roads in November 2016. The Q2 is aiming to punch above the Mercedes GLA and forthcoming BMW X2 in the fierce crossover boom, and will cost from around £22,000.

As our Geneva show gallery reveals, influence is drawn from the Crosslane Coupe concept displayed at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, but the design has matured from a two-door SUV coupe to a swoopy five-door in that time. It’s the first car overseen and signed-off by design boss Marc Lichte, who joined in 2014 and has been relishing the chance to truly make his mark on one of the brand’s models.

Audi Q2 – Goodwood FoS

The Q2 is 4.19m in length (around 12cm shorter than the A3), 1.79m wide and just over 1.5m tall (10cm shorter than the Q3).  It also weighs from a relatively light 1205kg. It’s still unmistakably an Audi in profile, but the Q2’s overall design brief was to join the A1 in attracting a younger clientele to the carmaker.

The broad shoulders, sloping roofline and short rear overhangs are crucial to this, as will design details like the hexagonal cutout along the car’s waistline, the ‘blade’ floating C-pillar and striking bonnet lines. The grille remains the same shape, but uses fresh ‘egg-crate’ slats to give it extra personality.

Colour schemes will also be an essential part of creating the youthful image Audi is after. There will be 12 body colours offered at launch, a well as a big list of options for customisation inside and out including a two-tone roof and coloured dash inserts. It’s been specifically designed to counter criticism that all Audis come in dour greys, blacks and blues.

Audi Q2 Yellow side front

Options on UK cars will include painted bumpers and blades, 16 to 19-inch alloy wheels, interior inlay colouring and contrasting piping on the seats. There will be a choice of cloth, alcantara and leather for the upholstery, too, and you can specifiy the new Audi Virtual Cockpit as seen on the new A4. Other interior options focus on younger buyers, such as the wireless phone charger, smartphone connectivity and Bang & Olufsen stereo system.

Exterior design head for the Q2, Gary Telaak, told Auto Express that a junior designer drew up a sketch of the five-door model, and when the Audi board of execs came across it they said “we have to build this”. However, he also talked of a “constant struggle” between the design and quality control department to ensure that the more surfaced exterior of the Q2 could “pass stringent metal pressing standards”. The designers were determined to not see their creation watered-down in any way.

Audi Q2 interior design

Step inside the cabin and things are a bit more familiar. It’s similar in overall look to the current A3, but also incorporates the latest multimedia tech from the new A4, including the optional 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display replacing the standard dials. A standard 5.8-inch MMI central infotainment screen sits atop the dash, while the upgraded system brings an 8.4-inch unit. Both are controlled via the familiar rotary dial.

The Q2 also gets a unique LED ambient lighting system that sees light projected through the panel gaps in the dash, with different designs for day and night. Standard kit for UK cars is yet to be confirmed, but will include a Pre-Sense city braking function that operates up to 53mph.

Audi Q2 Studio front

Space hasn’t been neglected in the Q2’s desire for style. There’s reasonable space for four adults in the back (even a six plus-footer as our images show), although the 405-litre boot is quite a way behind the 481-litres offered by the Mercedes GLA. Audi makes the most of the space with the option of a 40/20/40 split-folding seat.

Audi Q2 engine range

There’s no big surprises in the engine range, either. The two-strong petrol lineup will kick off with a 115bhp three-cylinder engine and also features a auto-only 187bhp 2.0 TFSI. European buyers get a flagship 248bhp 2.0-litre, but that’s not confirmed for the UK yet. The diesel range consists of a 115bhp 1.6 and 148bhp 2.0 TDI for now, with Quattro four-wheel drive set to be available across most engines later in the year. All engines now get the option of the latest seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox with a decoupling function.

Fortunately, there’s a hot model in the pipeline, as an engineer let slip on our exclusive preview event. We’re expecting both ‘S’ and ‘RS’ models to come, both with highly tuned turbocharged engines, although there’s no indication yet if the storming RS 3’s 362bhp five-cylinder can fit in the Q2.

The Q2 also gets the option of variable damping, with a 10mm lower sports suspension kit available too. All cars get a variable steering ratio, and there’s five driving modes including an off-road mode. That raises the ride height to 200mm and adjusts the drivetrain for rough surfaces.