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First drive: Audi Q2 2020MY. Image by Audi AG.

First drive: Audi Q2 2020MY
Itís mild facelift time for Audiís capable and amenable compact crossover.

   



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Audi Q2 2020MY

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Audi updates its strong-selling Q2 compact crossover and, while there are no drastic changes to talk about, this German machine nevertheless remains a quality contender in its particular sector of the market.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Audi Q2 30 TFSI
Pricing: Q2 range from £23,300
Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door compact crossover
CO2 emissions: tbc
Combined economy: tbc
Top speed: 122mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Power: 110hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 200Nm at 2,000-3,000rpm
Boot space: 405-1,050 litres

What's this?

It's the refreshed Audi Q2 and we don't want to sound like a broken record, as there have been quite a few midlife facelifts recently that have significantly updated the basis material, but in this instance we're back on the theme of 'spot the difference'. Even Audiphiles of the deepest devotion are going to have to look long and hard at the updated Q2 in order to work out if it's a 'facelifter' or not. So we'll give you the basics: it's at the back that the easiest identifier can be found, as there are pentagonal vent-like details at the outer edges of the rear bumper now, replacing horizontal reflectors before; these polygonal items reference the same things at the front (we'd call them 'air intakes', except they don't intake air...) of the Q2, which are part of a revised front-bumper-and-Singleframe-grille arrangement; there are, on higher-spec models, three little slats on top of the said Singleframe, paying homage to the Quattro of the '80s and also any number of the Q2's modern stablemates which wear the same thing; and the headlights are now all-LED with a funkier daytime running signature.

And, aside from fresh colours and alloy wheel designs, that's it. From a distance, new Q2 is as old Q2, complete with the chamfered shoulders and aggressive crease lines that are the calling cards of Marc Lichte's penmanship. Moving inside, you get much the same deal of 'if it ain't broke, lads', because there's the dashboard architecture from a previous-gen A3, not much room in the back for passengers and a 405-litre boot. These aren't searing criticisms, per se, because the Q2's interior is beautifully built, still looks pretty good, is incredibly intuitive to operate (it hasn't yet gone 'full touchscreen' like many Volkswagen Group products have these days) and reasonably well-equipped. It's just that, if you liked a 2017 Audi Q2, you're almost certainly going to like a 2020 Audi Q2 because it looks and feels exactly the same inside and out.

But then, there's a reason for Audi's reticence to get drastic with the Q2 facelift, as it has been a terrific sales success for the Ingolstadt company. More than 360,000 units have been sold worldwide since its launch four years ago and in excess of 53,500 of those have found homes in the UK. Indeed, the Q2 was, in 2019, the third best-selling model of all for Audi UK - at 16,947 sales, it took a podium position behind the top dog A1 supermini (20,630 units) and it was also only marginally less successful than the aforementioned A3 Sportback (17,036 units) - and, by a process of deductive reasoning, you've probably also worked out that it is Audi's most in-demand crossover/SUV out of the five models available; it was a good 2,400 sales clear of the second-placed Q3 last year, for example. So maybe serving up much the same dish, only with a fresh garnish, is cleverly catering to the tastes of your market audience. Anyway, whatever you think of the levels Audi has or hasn't gone to in the process of updating the Q2, prices here will start at £23,300 for a 30 TFSI Technik and rise to a whopping £39,950 for a 35 TFSI Vorsprung S tronic. First deliveries of the facelifted Q2 should begin in November.

How does it drive?

On the premise that when you start adding more powerful engines, quattro all-wheel drive and an S tronic dual-clutch gearbox to the Q2, then the price quickly gets to a level where purchasers inevitably start looking at a Q3 instead, Audi UK predicts that the Q2 heartland over here is a front-wheel-drive, manual petrol version, probably in S line trim. Happily, we got most of these factors ticked off by driving a German-spec 30 TFSI FWD manual, although we did also briefly sample a 35 TDI Edition 1 S tronic quattro for comparative purposes.

Good news, then, in that the 30 TFSI would be our pick of the range anyway. The incomprehensible Numberwang naming system that Audi came up with for its badging some years back ultimately means that '30' denotes not a snarling 3.0-litre V6 engine under the bonnet, but instead the peak output of a modest 110hp from a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. The maximum horsepower is allied to 200Nm of torque, while the Q2's weight is an admirably trim 1,225kg without a driver (figure on at least 1,300kg, depending upon, um, how portly you are) - but that still doesn't do much to improve very modest on-paper stats of 0-62mph in 11.2 seconds and a 122mph top speed.

Yet you don't need more power than this in a compact crossover. And actually, the 30 TFSI feels sparkier than these figures suggest. As you'd expect of Audi and the wider VW Group, the powertrain is a peach and the 1.0-litre revs keenly and smoothly out to the 6,500rpm redline, making subdued but nevertheless appealing noises while it does so. The gearbox is also superb, light of throw but oh-so-slick across the gate, so that you can row the Q2 30 TFSI along at a decent lick and it doesn't feel anaemic or undernourished.

Refinement in general is excellent too, especially high-speed stability. We drove along German Autobahns for extended periods at in excess of 112mph, and the Q2 felt steadfast and assured at such velocity - meaning it'll cope easily with trudging up and down the M40 at the legal limit for miles on end. Smaller wheels, 17s in the case of our test car, and softer suspension also give the Q2 great ride quality with decent, if not stellar body control, so that it feels as comfortable cruising around town as it does hammering along a motorway at something approaching flat chat. Furthermore, noise suppression is, as you'd expect, top notch.

It's really just the handling which might let the Q2 down. The Audi has a clean, composed and competent chassis, but not one in which there are any hidden driver rewards to unlock. Its preferred cornering stance is resolutely foursquare and neutral, no matter what you do to provoke it, and while both grip and traction must be highly commended - allowing a Q2 driver to traverse undulating country roads at a fair old canter - it's all just a bit safe, buttoned-down and conservative. And then there's the Dynamic setting for the steering. All Q2s now get Progressive Steering as standard and this is a variable-rate system with differing settings which works well on some Audis, such as the RS 6 Avant and, oddly enough, the quattro TDI version of the revised Q2 we also drove on the same day, but it is not pleasant at all on the front-driven 30 TFSI. It's bizarrely heavy, unusually springy in its rate of response and it adds nothing in terms of feedback or feel; in fact, it is horrible. Mercifully, the much lighter but far more natural-feeling Comfort setting is a lot better to deal with, although that then begs the question of why Audi felt Progressive Steering needed to be fitted in the first place. Ah well.

Verdict

Berating the revised Audi Q2 for not providing a sparkling driving experience would not be sensible of us, as crossovers of this type aren't supposed to be incredibly engaging machines first and foremost, and if Audi wants to then it can always revisit the rather excellent SQ2, but we do think there are some rivals which will offer enthusiastic drivers a little more involvement behind the wheel than the Q2 30 TFSI does. However, as it remains an all-round appealing and polished little package, it's clear this updated Q2 will continue to stream healthily out of Audi dealerships across the country.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 21 Oct 2020



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2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.

2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.2020 Audi Q2 30 TFSI S line Frankfurt. Image by Audi AG.








 

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