Audi Q2 1.5 TFSI S tronic Review
Quick & Quirky

Words by David Foo. Photos by Clifford Chow
20 Aug 2021
 

On the inside of the new Q2, the biggest update has to be the inclusion of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Considered by many as the OG digital driver’s display system, there isn't much to fault about the system.

4 years ago, Audi turned a few heads by introducing the original Q2 - it’s endeavour into the neither here nor there, half-breed world of cars. While Audi seems reluctant to put a label to the car, we live in a world where everything needs a label. Seeing as the Q2 sits higher than a hatchback, and is shorter than a full fledged SUV, I’m just going to go ahead and call the Q2 a crossover. Whether or not you like the idea of the Audi Q2, reception to the car was encouraging - enough so that we’ll be getting an updated version of the car in Singapore.

At a distance, the updated version looks like a mild facelift, but there is more to it than meets the eye, and the car receives significant upgrades to the exterior, the interior, and the engine - Letting us know that Audi has invested in the aspects of the car that really matter.

On the exterior, the Q2 now sports unique polygon shaped trim panels on the front and rear bumpers. - A nice touch that helps the car look a little more sporty than its predecessor. The panels around the newly standard Matrix LED headlamps have also been redesigned, with a surface lip now visible under the headlamps, accentuating the polygon design on the bumper. The car is available with a Floret Silver Metallic C-Pillar panel, which could potentially look very good when put against the right body colour. Personally, I think the exterior updates have been well managed and integrated onto the original car.

If anything, one might perhaps feel like the updates were too well integrated, as the new Q2 looks like a special trim version of its predecessor, rather than a facelift. To be fair, this has always been Audi’s way. Unlike BMW and Mercedes-Benz who have a tendency to completely change the way a car looks, Audi does very well at retaining the visual DNA of the original car, while giving it some fancier clothes. 

Interior

On the inside of the new Q2, the biggest update has to be the inclusion of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Considered by many as the OG digital driver’s display system, there isn't much to fault about the system. From an aesthetics standpoint, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is perhaps starting to look its age, and can come across a little bit utilitarian.

However, from a functional standpoint, it's still one of the better systems on the market and is old but gold. Moving inward to the infotainment unit, the Q2 has a redesigned and enlarged display unit with sleeker bezels that now comes with Audi smartphone interface. This allows you to hook your car and phone up via Apple Carplay or Android Auto. Across the rest of the interior, you won’t find any surprises, and the build quality is everything you’d expect to find in a premium luxury crossover, with plenty of soft touch materials and premium feeling switchgear. You even get the signature “clicky” Audi buttons that you’ll find on almost every single Audi on the market.

Other new design features in the cabin include a lovely faux-metal-ring around the very aircon vents, as well as a new ambient lighting strip around the cabin. Both new features add just enough zest to the interior for the Q2 to remain relevant against newer competitors. The leather seats were comfortable, with a memorably comfortable headrest, brought down only by the fact that the standard car does not come with any form of electric seat adjustment other than the lumbar support. 

The Drive

With all the mundane stuff out of the way, we can now talk about what really matters, because this is where the new Q2 really shines the brightest. The Q2 receives the new 1.5L 4 cylinder turbo petrol power plant, paired to the same 7-speed S-tronic dual clutch found on the previous car, producing 150hp and 250Nm of torque. On paper, the car is about as fast as its previous predecessor, but the car feels quite different in my opinion. For starters, the previous 1.4L power unit was a rather happy revving unit, and would happily let you drag out the gears if you so desired. Under normal driving circumstances however, the transmission shifts you up quickly to help maximise economy. With the latest setup, it seems that the 7 speed S-tronic has been tweaked a little further, making it a little bit more unnatural to misbehave in. In its default comfort setting, it feels like the car doesn’t want you to drag out your revs, and seems to upshift even faster than its predecessor. As a result, the car doesn’t feel as fun to drive, but it does feel a little more refined and grown up than the previous car -  a good thing in my opinion.

Should you fancy a bit of fun however, you can put the car into dynamic mode, and power away. In 4th gear, the Q2 does its best work, pulling effortlessly like a proper 4 cylinder should. You also start to truly appreciate the 1.5L power unit at higher speeds or at expressway speeds with plenty of available power up till about 120km/h, where the power delivery tapers and becomes more gradual. Progressive steering, available in the new Q2, also adds a dimension of fun when you start chucking the car around corners, allowing you to shove the Q2’s nose into the sharpest corners with a go kart likeness. It’s still not quite as fun as a Mini Countryman, but it's not far off, and definitely better than most other crossovers you can buy today. That’s pretty praiseworthy considering that the Q2 rides on a rear torsion beam compared to the Countryman’s rear multilink axles. One small gripe I had though, was that at higher cruising speeds, there was more than noticeable tyre roar coming through the wheel hub, through the footwells, and into the cabin. Other noteworthy observations are that the A pillars are one of the smallest I have seen on a modern car, and visibility is excellent out the front. Conversely, the C pillars are one of the largest I have seen on a modern car, and makes checking your blind spot a little bit difficult. 

Aside from being quick, nimble, and what feels like the most powerful Q2 yet, it is also expected to be the cleanest and most frugal Q2 yet, with a few fuel saving tricks up its sleeve. In ‘Eco’ drive mode, the gearbox is designed to disengage when you lift off the accelerator paddle, allowing the Q2 to coast into more fuel savings. While cruising, the engine is designed to have two of its cylinders deactivated, helping the Q2 achieve a claimed 19.6km/l - Very impressive for a car that is spritely and quick around the streets. It should be noted though, that the claimed rating was probably achieved under Eco mode driving with the auto start/stop left on. Under real-world Singaporean road conditions, I’d say you’d be achieving something a little closer to 14km/l to 16km/l, but only because you’ll likely turn off the auto start/stop, and also because you’ll probably not be driving this car like a slouch.

Our Thoughts

As an automobile, the Q2 checks all the key boxes. It’s got pound-for-pound, one of the best engines on the market, wonderful transmission, and handles really well for a jacked-up hatchback. However, I initially struggled to picture the specific type of person who would own this car. Looking within the same realm of crossovers and SUVs, a GLA is more prestigious, an X1 is more beautiful, a Countryman is more fun to drive, an A3 is more practical, and a real hipster would buy a C5 Aircross. It seemed like whichever way i leaned, there was something better than the Q2. Then it dawned on me that perhaps, the Q2 offers a middle ground between all these options, a little bit of everything for the person who doesn’t want to feel like they are tied down to a particular type of car. It doesn’t necessarily offer you the best of all worlds, but it certainly does offer you a good deal of everything, making it a fantastic all rounder.

 

Find out more about the Audi Q2.

In Summary

We Like

Very positive driving dynamics. Excellent engine and transmission. Progressive steering is a big positive. Performance wise, one of the best in class.

We Don't

Quite a bare equipment list that doesn’t keep parity with its competitors. No electric seats, no lane departure warning, no wireless phone charger. Infotainment and instrument cluster starting to look its age.

Verdict

The Audi Q2 is an interesting proposition with a very plug and play feel, which will work very well for buyers who don’t want to scrutinise every line in the spec sheet. The car is decent at almost everything and while there are areas for improvement, the Q2 will not disappoint in any department. Perfect for a weekend utility car or a 2nd car. 

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1498cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Bore x Stroke (74.5 85.9)mm
Power 148bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 1500rpm
Power to Weight 115.6 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 10.7s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 218 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 19.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed 7-speed S tronic transmission
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4191 x 1794 x 1508) mm
Wheelbase 2595 mm
Turning Circle 11.1 metres
Kerb Weight 1280 kg
Boot Capacity (folded) 1050 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs