Audi Q2 Launches in Geneva to Capitalize on the Small Crossover Segment Boom

Like most crossovers its size, the new Audi Q2 looks like it would only fit in one of the two scenarios its creators picture it in: crawling off-road or cruising through an urban setting.
Audi Q2 25 photos
Photo: Audi
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Despite having a 20 cm ground clearance and short overhangs, the first of the two environments described for the Audi Q2 is easily dispatched because, really, who buys a small Audi to go off-roading? The second one, however - even though it makes just about as much sense as walking backward on a treadmill - could actually find its fair share of enthusiasts. Because, you know, the cities are full of situations where you need a slightly jacked-up small hatchback.

That's exactly what the new Audi Q2 is, and it doesn't even try to hide it. With a mere 20 centimeters extra in length over the tiny A1 hatch, don't expect the Q2 to offer swathes of space or the kind of comfort you would expect from larger vehicles. Audi says the driving position is "sporty and low like in an Audi sedan," but by employing a proprietary magic spell, they also managed to make all-round visibility "very good as is typical of an SUV." Is there anybody who still believes these "best of both worlds" ridiculous claims?

We're going to have to wait a little for an answer on that one as the new Q2 isn't yet up for sale, and will only arrive at dealerships this fall. But we somehow expect it to do nicely, especially since it doesn't really have any direct competitors: the closest thing you can get is the Mercedes-Benz GLA, but even that is significantly larger.

Audi went for a little change in terms of exterior design, but the car doesn't appear to be at its best. The headlights (strangely reminiscent of a certain Nordic deity's hammer) appear to be slightly undersized, but that could very well be down to the huge radiator grille that could even make China feel a bit insecure about its size. The pictures show it can come in either chrome or black, and the latter does give it less visual opulence, but it's still the dominant feature of the front end. The overall theme of the design is surprisingly boxy even for Audi, with a multitude of right angles covering Q2's body.

The side profile is probably the redeeming feature for the Q2, with the roofline falling nicely into the rising shoulder line with the help of a C-pillar painted in contrasting color. Make it wear smaller wheels, however, and some of the drama will be lost, but the Q2 still manages to look enticing for a car in this category from the side.

The rear is where things get really weird. The lower part is taken up by an air diffuser "with an underbody protection look," while at the top there's a long roof spoiler covering the sloped tailgate. The problem lies with what's in between these two areas, where Audi's designers opted for a set of square taillights that will have you think Volkswagen Polo instantly. It's not necessarily a bad look, but people (us included) will need some time getting used to this new appearance.

The interior is predictably Audi and, for once, that actually is a good thing. The same clean design we've seen on the latest models (the Q7, for instance) makes its way onto the smaller Q2 dashboard, and it suits the small crossover nicely. Quality materials are a given, as are numerous optional features such as the virtual cockpit instrument cluster or the large central multimedia display. Extensive active safety features will be offered as well, including lane keeping assist or automated emergency braking.

The famous quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system is standard for the two top gasoline and diesel engines, which also come equipped with a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. At launch, the Audi Q2 will have six available engines ranging from 116 hp to 190 hp. So no engines with more than four cylinders.

It's hard to tell what fortunes the Audi Q2 will have in its life. While the small crossover segment is booming, the premium brands haven't gone so far down in size before, so Audi is acting as a pioneer here. The fans of the brand will probably welcome the Q2, but we fail to see how it could convince the undecided to join its side. It's a bland, uninspiring little car packed with nice tech and a very well-executed interior, but it all comes at a price. No idea what that is at the moment, but it will be significant.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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