First drive: 2017 Audi Q2 in Bahrain
Audi recently revealed the all-new Q2 in the Middle East with a media drive event in Bahrain. The smallest SUV in their crossover line-up, it has been designed to appeal to a younger audience.
Looking at the exterior, it still has the Audi DNA but some subtle changes have been made to make it more distinct from the other Q crossovers. The most obvious one is the headlight design, which are bigger in proportions compared to its siblings. Then there is the huge octagonal front grille with their four-rings logo, positioned higher than usual. On the side profile, you can see the horizontal line which runs across the SUV, split into two on the doors and join back, which is not a typical Audi design.
We had the Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI “S Line” trim, so it was fitted with an exterior package that included LED headlights, LED rear lights, body-coloured bumpers and some nice black 19-inch alloys wheels.
One more aspect to appeal to the youth are the customisation options for the interior. Audi says customers can choose different colours for inlays, sections of the seats and contrasting stitching. Inlays are also available in white plastic or brushed aluminium. Seat upholstery choices range from fabrics to Nappa leather. There is an optional interior LED lighting package as well, which was standard in our S Line test car.
Engine choices available will be the turbocharged 1.4-litre 4-cylinder engine, which comes with 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque, and the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder motor which churns out 190 hp and 320 Nm coming later on this year. A 116 hp 1.0-litre 3-cylinder turbo engine is available in other markets.
We got a chance to try the front-wheel-drive 1.4 TSFI variant, which Audi claims can do 0-100 kph in 8.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 212 kph.
The engine was nice and torquey at low rpm, which made it nice to drive in the city. The 7-speed S-tronic transmission was responsive, when put in sport mode and mostly chose the right gears according to throttle input. This motor also gets cylinder deactivation, switching to 3-cylinders for further fuel savings, the changeover not noticeable at all to the driver. We didn’t drive on any roads above 100 kph during this overly-restricted event, so we can’t really say how well it will perform on highways.
The Q2 1.4 TFSI S Line gets dynamic suspension as standard, so it handled pretty much like a hatchback at moderately-high speeds. Body-roll was minimal and it was easy to know when to back off the throttle as understeer came in gradually.
Rear seat space may not be the best for tall passengers, and while the interior looks funky, the dashboard has a lot of hard plastics, with just the top half having some soft-touch materials and only the door armrests provided with soft padding. You generally expect more from a luxury-badged car.
The 2017 Audi Q2 is a decent offering providing hipster consumers with another option if they are not particularly fond of compact sedans and hatchbacks, but want fuel economy and a higher ride height for the city. While it has hit the ground running in Europe, we will have to wait and see if customers in the GCC will be tempted to go for the Q2, especially with much cheaper alternatives available such as the Renault Captur and the recently-introduced Nissan Kicks, although neither of those benefit from the power and brand cache of an Audi.