The Audi Q2 and the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé are as different as chalk and cheese in terms of body style, but they both are entry-points into their respective brands. So, which one should you bet your money on?
A decade ago, the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, or Mercedes-Benz C-Class would cost you around ₹35 –40 lakh (on-road), but those days are long gone. The fully loaded versions of these cars now go beyond the ₹50 lakh mark. Of course, new-age technology, increasing input costs, and currency devaluation, all have a huge part to play, but that’s a topic for another day.
The rising costs of these cars have compelled manufacturers to bring in new and smaller products to make their brands accessible to a larger audience. But these entry-level luxury cars have their work cut out for them. To start with, manufacturers have to make these cars affordable without compromising on the ethos of theirs brands. And what makes things even more difficult is the fact that these cars are priced just a notch below their larger siblings.
We recently sampled two such products – the Audi Q2 and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, to find the answers to two really important questions. One, does it make sense to invest in this segment of cars, considering all the options that are available in the price range? And two, which one of these two is the better car overall?
In Fine Style
Let’s start with the design. Honestly, despite the fact that the Q2 that is on sale in India is roughly four years old, it doesn’t quite look dated. In fact, I quite like it for its simplicity in terms of design. The signature Audi grille, clean lines, and neatly crafted rear, all exude a very pleasing appeal. I must admit, though, it’s far from looking like a proper SUV – in fact, it looks more like a hatchback on stilts.
While the Q2 is more universal in its appeal, the 2 Series Gran Coupé is more flamboyant and may not be to everyone’s taste. I personally am not a huge fan of the way the car looks from the rear. While the 8 Series Gran Coupé inspired design does give it a distinctive stance, the top and bottom half of the rear end, I think, don’t quite come together seamlessly. The sleek LED taillights, twin-exhaust, and coupé roofline definitely make it look sporty though.
Thankfully, unlike a lot of other BMWs on sale today, the front grille here isn’t oversized. The arc-shaped LED DRLs, angular bumper, and large air dams make the car look lean. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preferences, and whether you like your cars to be minimalistic or flamboyant.
Now, a few things that make the Bimmer look chic also make it a bit laborious for you to get inside. Like all other BMWs, the 2 Series sits low, making ingress and egress quite difficult. The rear doors don’t quite open wide enough, so you almost have to squeeze yourself to get into the back seat. Once inside, your eyes are almost at the level of the top of the window line, which can make some feel a bit claustrophobic. BMW has tried to add a bit of headroom by excavating the roof, but still, it doesn’t seem to be enough. Six-foot-tall passengers will surely feel a bit cramped in the rear seat. That said, the 2 Series Gran Coupé has a longer wheelbase, and it’s quite evident in the legroom and knee room on offer. The use of bright coloured upholstery makes the cabin feel airy. And even though it’s significantly cheaper than the Q2, it has top-notch quality all around. The buttons, upholstery, and steering wheel, all feel premium. Also, there are soft-touch materials all around – from the top of the dash to door pads.
In comparison, the Q2 has a lot of rough plastics in the cabin, which is unfortunate, especially considering the price it demands. In fact, it even misses out on some basic features, like a touchscreen infotainment system, rear air-con vents, and electrically adjustable front seats – all of which you can now find on cheaper cars.
Now, the BMW has a longer list of features than the Q2. Not only does it get all of the above but also wireless charging, wireless Apple CarPlay, gesture control, panoramic glass roof, and more. The Audi does, however, offer better seating comfort than the BMW. The Q2 rides higher than the 2 Series and has a high SUV-like seating position, which makes getting in and out of it an easy affair. Both cars’ ambient lighting deserves special mention – while most cars get regular strips, the Q2 and 2 Series get textured lights, which look super cool.
In the Same League
Both cars are very similar in terms of what lies under the hood – they both feature a 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. In fact, at 188bhp, the power figures are identical too. The Q2, however, makes a max torque of 320Nm, which is 40Nm more than that of the 2 Series. But out on the road, the difference is not so easily noticeable.
The 2 Series’ motor is quite free-revving and extremely stress-free, even when pushed to the redline. When you floor the A-pedal from a standstill, the Bimmer’s wheels spin angrily, and there is a noticeable torque steer before it darts up ahead. While it does feels quite quick, it tends to be overdramatic in the way it delivers power.
The Audi, on the other hand, puts the power down in a relatively friendly manner. Thanks to the quattro all-wheel-drive system, the Q2 gets off the line with a wee bit more surety. In fact, even around corners, the Q2 feels better composed. Now, while exiting tight corners, the 2 Series has a tendency to understeer – you can even hear the tyres working hard to keep up. In comparison, the Q2 holds a clean line and is a lot more predictable. Add to that a well-weighted and precise steering wheel, and you have a crossover that almost feels like a hot hatch. Given its relatively tall stance, the Q2 has noticeable body roll though.
In terms of ride quality, the Q2 feels considerably more pliant than the 2 Series over long stretches of bad roads. While at slow speeds it does toss you around in the cabin, it also settles down rather quickly. Drive the 2 Series over some rough roads, and you can feel the suspension working hard. The larger wheels and the relatively low-profile tyres also have a part to play here.
The Big Picture
Let’s get one thing out of the way first – neither of these cars offers the best bang for your buck. The 220i M Sport that we had on test demands ₹40.90 lakh, which is marginally lower than the ₹42.60 lakh price of the 330i Sport. And it gets even worse in the case of the Q2. The A4 starts at ₹42.34 lakh, which is much cheaper than the ₹48.89 lakh of the Q2 Technology trim. When you take into consideration all the prices, the 2 Series does seem like a better investment – it is after all more spacious and flaunts better quality and features.
The Audi’s offering does have the advantage of the quattro all-wheel-drive system, which gives it an edge in terms of handling. But despite that, the over ₹60 lakh on-road price for the Technology trim is far from justified.
The 2 Series, on the other hand, feels equally quick, corners with reasonable confidence too, and packs more features. All in all, while it’s hard to choose between these cars with a sense of meaningful certainty, especially with their larger siblings well within reach, there is no denying that the 2 Series Gran Coupé does make a stronger case for itself than the Q2.
- BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé
- Audi Q2
Engine: 1,998cc / 4-Cylinder / Turbocharged
Transmission: 7-Speed DCT Automatic / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 187.4bhp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 280Nm @ 1,350 - 4,600rpm
Price: ₹40.90 lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-factor: With superior quality and great dynamics, the 2 Series Gran Coupé is an authentic BMW sedan.
Engine: 1,984cc / 4-Cylinder / Turbocharged
Transmission: 7-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic / All-Wheel Drive
Power: 188bhp @ 4,200 - 6,000rpm
Torque: 320Nm @ 1,500 - 4,180rpm
Price: ₹48.89 lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-factor: A crossover that drives like a hot hatch!