CAPE TOWN - The compact SUV segment has grown at a rapid rate in recent years and over the last few weeks, we saw the introduction of the KIA Sonet, the Nissan Magnite and now the updated Audi Q2.
When Audi first introduced the Q2 a few years ago the compact SUV segment was a new and relatively small segment in South Africa with many still turning towards hatchbacks and compact sedans for vehicle ownership. Something happened around 2016 when Audi introduced the Q2 which caused the compact SUV segment to ignite. Now though, as mentioned not a week goes by without news of a new offering headed to market. The Q2 was however one of the first with a premium badge to play within the AO segment. Interestingly NAAMSA reckons that the Q2 is a direct competitor for the Mini Countryman, hence its AO segment designation.
On the face of it, you will be hard-pressed to notice the changes, but in true Audi fashion they are there and once you notice them, they make a difference. The compact SUV measures 4208mm in length, 17mm more than before. The wheelbase of 2600mm, the width of 1790mm, and the height of 1508mm remain the same.
The car features restyled bumpers that enhance its sporty appearance, made even more so when you tick the S line package option. The front bumper features larger design elements on the flanks and the grille has also been updated to fit with the current Audi design language. Tick the black styling package option and all the exterior black bits become gloss black, adding to the visual appeal.
One of the biggest enhancements is the new LED headlights which also feature on the standard Q2 model. The advanced Matrix LED headlights are also available upon request. Atop the LED headlights you will find a unique daytime running light design which also doubles as the indicator. The rear also gets LED taillights depending on trim level and if you opted for the front Matrix LEDs you get the cascading indicators at the rear. Staying with the rear the Q2 can be had with contrasting rear blades or C-pillars. These can be finished in black, grey, silver or in the body colour of the car. The eagle-eyed viewer will also notice that the tailpipes have disappeared and now reside behind the redesigned diffuser.
There are also new rim designs available. The standard trim line includes 16-inch wheels, the Advanced trim line 17-inch wheels and the S line includes 18-inch units. Rounding off the exterior styling of the car are a few new colours. These include Manhattan Grey, Navarra Blue, Arrow Grey, and Turbo Blue however it was Apple Green which has made its debut on the updated Q2 that attracted the attention at the media launch.
The interior of the updated Q2, like the exterior, will need a second look to notice the changes. It remains a well put together place with quality materials throughout. The model that we sampled at launch featured the upgraded Audi MMI system with Audi smartphone interface and MMI navigation plus. This means that you get niceties such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Interestingly the infotainment screen is not touch operated like it is on most new Audi models. It still makes use of a rotary dial on the centre console. The reason for this, according to Audi is because this Q2 is just a facelift and not an entirely new model, hence the use of the ‘current’ (older) system.
The Q2 is, however, available with the Audi virtual cockpit which features a 31cm digital instrument cluster. The optional Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System features 14 loudspeakers with an output of 705 watts although the standard speaker system is compelling enough in this segment.
What is new though is the gear-lever which is similar to that found in the new Audi Q3 attached to a new gearbox. Top-spec models include ambient lighting which forms part of the trim inserts instead of the conventional lighting strip under the trim. It, like the running indicators, is a crowd-pleaser.
The luggage compartment holds 405 litres, expanding to 1050 litres when the rear seatbacks are folded down. As an optional extra, Audi will deliver the storage and luggage compartment with a tailgate that opens and closes electrically.
Under the bonnet is a familiar 1.4TFSI turbocharged petrol motor. It develops 110kW and 250Nm. It is mated to a new 8-speed automatic gearbox. This new unit replaces the previous 7-speed S-tronic and the change is noticeable. The gear changes are smooth and when pottering around happen with very little drivetrain shunt. Various driving modes also feature, these include Comfort, Dynamic and Efficiency. Each sets the vehicle up depending on the mode. Audi says that the little Q2 will get from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.8 seconds; its vmax is 213 km/h.
The Audi Q2 is a sporty compact SUV and as such it now features progressive steering as standard. This system makes the steering more and more direct the further the driver turns the steering wheel. This helps for tight parking areas and narrow city street driving. Its benefits can also be felt on the country roads, especially those of the Western Cape which include twists and turns which beg to be taken with enthusiasm.
The model that we sampled was the entry-level with a few optional bits added. It sat on the 16-inch rubber which further complimented the already compliant ride quality. The Q2 might be the smallest Q model in the line-up but it is massively impressive out on the road, despite some wind noise. It is also worth mentioning that the Q2 offers 200mm of ground clearance for when your weekend adventures require some gravel negotiation. The ESC stabilisation control has an integrated offroad mode too, despite it being a front-wheel drive vehicle.
OPTIONS AND MORE
To simplify the purchasing process, Audi is offering a few packages which include must-have items to fit your budget:
The Comfort Package includes an electric tailgate; 4-way lumbar support; seat heaters in front; a storage and luggage compartment package with two rear USB’s.
The Tech Package features the MMI navigation plus; Audi smartphone interface; Audi virtual cockpit.
The Black styling package which is only available on the Advanced and S line models includes the Single-frame grille in black; front and rear bumper trims in black; exterior mirrors in black; side blade in black; 19-inch 10-spoke Y style wheels in black; sports suspension.
Finally, there is the S line interior package which is only available on the Advanced and S line models and includes decorative inserts in matte brushed aluminium; S line emblems; headliner in black fabric; interior aluminium look; pedal and footrest in stainless steel; scuff plates with aluminium inserts in the front and illuminated with “S” logo.
WORTH A LOOK
When it comes to pricing you might think that a newer model means a more expensive price tag. That is however not the case; as the latest Q2 carries the same price tag as the outgoing model. There is also a special limited Launch Edition which is priced at R519 500.
While it is not cheap by any measure for a compact car, the drive and the technology on offer does justify that the Q2 to be considered when shopping in this segment.
The facelift 2021 Audi Q2 will officially go on sale in South Africa from tomorrow, 1 June 2021, and is priced as follows (inclusive of all taxes) and comes standard with a five-year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan that can be extended up to 10 years or 300 000km:
Audi Q2 35 TFSI Launch Edition - R519 500 (limited units available)
Audi Q2 35 TFSI - R545 500
Audi Q2 35 TFSI Advanced - R567 500
Audi Q2 35 TFSI S line - R581 500
Reporting by Justin Jacobs for IOL MOTORING