After a tough couple of years in the Indian market, Audi is revitalising itself with the launch of a new entry-level product – the Q2. But don’t luxury and compact make strange bedfellows?
When it comes to luxury SUVs, and selling them in large volumes, no brand, perhaps, has more experience in the Indian market than Audi. From the Q7, which sparked the luxury SUV craze in India over a decade ago, to the first-gen Q5 and the Q3, Audi’s SUV range has been a hot-favourite with Indian customers. So, it comes as no surprise that, with the Q2, Audi is stretching the definition of SUVs and entering into the compact SUV segment.
In today’s world, where virtually every single product category has given way to a myriad of product variations, the Q2 presents a new conundrum for Indian customers, with its polarising design. You see, when it comes to the overall design theme, the Q2 looks more like a raised hatchback than a traditional SUV. Sure, it has a slightly taller ride height and big 17-inch wheels, paired to the trademark oversized Audi grille, but the fact is that the Q2 just doesn’t feel like an SUV in the traditional sense of the word. However, it does have some interesting details – for instance, its strong shoulder line has some interesting detailing and that blacked-out C-pillar gives the roof a floating look.
Hits & Misses
While the exterior styling might not be traditional, the interior of the Q2 has the familiar Audi ambience. Also, the interior quality of the Q2 is fantastic, with its soft-touch surfaces and very comfortable seats.
The moment you fire up the car, you’re greeted with the sight of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster, which continues to impress with its quality, design, and intuitiveness. The flat-bottom steering wheel is great to use and just the perfect size for the car. Another highlight of the Q2’s design is the LED lighting, which is now a part of the interior décor and looks fantastic at night.
But there are also some concerns with the Q2. With a length of just over 4.3 metres, the Q2 is compact. It’s no surprise, then, that the Q2’s interior space is at a premium. For instance, if you’re taller than six feet, you’ll struggle in the rear seat. And with a transmission tunnel that runs through the centre of the rear floor, the Q2 is more suited for four adults rather than five.
In terms of multimedia and connectivity, the Q2 offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with wireless charging for smartphones and a 10-speaker sound system. The multimedia functioning of the Q2 is controlled through an 8.3-inch multimedia display, which, interestingly, does not have touchscreen functionality and can only be accessed via Audi’s MMI controller.
One of the biggest highlights of the Q2 is its driving appeal. It might be compact in size, but its 2.0-litre turbocharged TFSI petrol engine packs a punch – it produces 188bhp and 320Nm of torque. The combination of the Q2’s compact size, all-wheel drive, and relatively light weight allow the 188bhp engine to propel it from 0 to 100km/h in just 6.5 seconds. In fact, the 2.0-litre engine feels perfect for the Q2 – whether you’re in traffic or driving on the highway, the unit is responsive and provides instant acceleration. It genuinely makes the Q2 fun
One of the reasons that new products like the Q2 are now making their way into the Indian market is our government’s new regulations, which allow manufacturers to import up to 2,500 units of a particular product every year, without necessitating that the product be locally homologated in India. Therefore, like some other VW Group products, the Q2 is also imported into India in CBU form. And, as a fully built import, the suspension of the Q2 is set up for European roads, which means that the ride of the Q2 is quite firm and can be quite jarring on our roads. Also, the steering of the Q2 has an unnatural weight to it and feels quite heavy, especially at slow speeds.
WEIGHING THE ODDS
Overall, I think that the Q2 is a bit of a hit-and-miss product. The things that work in its favour include the Audi badge, its compact size – if you’re looking for an urban runabout – excellent quality, and spirited performance, with its power-packed engine and all-wheel-drive layout. However, as compared to other similar-size SUVs available in India, like the Seltos or Creta, or even the X1, the Q2 doesn’t do as well in terms of equipment, with its manual seats, small sunroof, and lack of a touchscreen.
In short, the Q2 has the characteristics of a typical Audi product in terms of performance, quality, and brand appeal. But, the pricing of the Q2 is a bit too high, given that it’s a CBU import. Sure, its pricing starts at just under the Rs. 35 lakh, but well-equipped versions of the Q2 cost between Rs. 45 and Rs. 49 lakh (all prices are ex-showroom).
So, a well-equipped Q2 will cost well over Rs. 50 lakh on-road. Now that’s a lot of money for a car with limited features and space. While it’s undoubtedly a competent product, at this price, it’s strictly for diehard Audi SUV fans.
- Audi Q2
Engine: 1,984cc / 4-Cylinders / Turbocharged
Transmission: 7-Speed Dual-Clutch / All-Wheel Drive
Power: 188bhp @ 4,200-6,000rpm
Torque: 320Nm @ 1,500-4,180rpm
Price: ₹34.99 - 48.89 lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-Factor: Q credentials, compact size and class-leading performance.
• Terrific engine
• High-speed manners
Also read - Audi to hike prices from 1st January 2021