Luxury brands are now selling more affordable machines as they try to entice new buyers who want a taste of the finer things.
Luxury brands are offering more and more accessible machines, and the new Audi Q2 is the most affordable of the SUVs from the German brand.
We find out what the matter is.
It is Audi’s entry point for luxury SUV ownership. The brand has thrown its weight behind the high-riding crossover. There are six sizes, even more body styles and a wide range of petrol, diesel and electric options.
It all starts with the compact Q2 that costs around $49,000 drive-away.
The mid-grade Audi Q2 40 TFSI quattro has been tested here for over $50,600 on-roads (about $57,000 drive-away), adding a more powerful engine with all-wheel-drive to the mix.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, a powered tailgate, wireless phone charging, and a remote-controlled infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Most customers will dip into the options list with Metallic Paint ($1195) and the $2950 Premium Package adding features like digital dash, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, heated seats, 10-speaker stereo and more.
While five-year warranties are the new norm for cars, Audi continues with a three-year unlimited kilometer guarantee. A five-year service plan costs $2320.
Our test car had supportive heated sports seats and a sporty leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift pedals that contributed to the impressive ergonomics. There’s good space in the front, but the rear seat space is tight and the boot is average for cars of this size.
Audi’s decision to forgo touchscreen functionality in favor of a spinning rotary controller disappoints at first, but soon becomes second nature. The customizable (but again, optional) “virtual cockpit” is a winner, allowing drivers to see exactly what they want on the digital dash, and dual-zone climate control helps keep passengers calm.
The Q2 comes with Audi’s auto emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring.
You’ll have to pay extra for lane keeping assist and active cruise control (part of the $2950 Premium Pack), which is disappointing because you’ll find them as standard kits on less posh models ranging from the Toyota Corolla to the Isuzu D-Max.
Here is where Q2 shines. While the standard model has a 1.5-litre, 110kW/250Nm engine, this sportier model is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo motor found in the VW Golf GTI, Audi TT sports car and the Porsche Macan. Paired with a speedy seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, this is a great engine with great responses and decent fuel economy.
Tuned to make 140kW and 320Nm, this quattro accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds thanks to all-wheel-drive. It combines impressive traction and effortless power with a quick-witted gearbox. The quick steering and taut suspension make hustle and bustle around the city fun, though the ride can feel a bit rough at times.
The Q2 is a good thing, but it’s a little too dear for our tastes, especially when you need to pay more for modern essentials.
Volvo XC40, about $53,000 drive-away
The smallest Swede is a cracker, from its very cute styling to its clever use of sustainable materials. There’s even an electric option with bigger power.
BMW X2, about $55,000 drive-away
Intended for those who think traditional BMWs are a bit stuffy, the youth-focused X2 prioritizes presentation over the brand’s general poise.
VW T-Roc 140TSI, about $47,000 from drive-away
What is an Audi badge for you? The similarly sized, mechanically identical and better equipped VW is $10,000 cheaper.
AUDI Q2 40 TFSI quattro vitals
cost: About $57,000 drive-away
Device: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo, 140kW/320Nm
Warranty / Servicing: 3 years/u’ltd km, for 5 years $2320
the protection: 6 airbags, auto emergency braking, forward collision alert, blind-spot warning
Thirst: 7.0 L/100km
Cargo: 405 liters
Excessive: repair kit