Leading the way: Audi Q2 compact SUV
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Audi New Zealand is getting the edge on its premium competitors with the launch of its all-new model, the Q2 compact SUV.
The Q2 shares the same platform as the Audi A3 hatchback, is 200mm shorter than the company’s Q3 crossover and has a low roofline.
Priced from $54,500, the Q2 comes with a 1.4-litre, TFSI petrol engine producing 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque, and is paired with the Sport S-tronic transmission. The 1.4-litre engine is also found in the A1 and A3.
It is an all-new product in the premium vehicle segment; its physical rival being Mazda’s CX-3 while it will probably compete against Mini’s Countryman, BMW’s X1, Jeep’s Renegade and Mercedes-Benz’s GLA.
Later in the year, an all-wheel-drive quattro version of the Q2 will be launched in New Zealand, with an expected price tag in the mid to high $60,000s, said Audi NZ.
The Q2 has just won the German Design Award, with comments from the jury including “the Audi Q2 surprises with a design that is fully independent and not just a scaled-down version of its big brother,” and “this elegant car has the potential to be a trendsetter”.
Audi NZ is not only expecting it to be a trendsetter among the premium brands, but hoping it will help take annual sales of its SUV Q range to 50 per cent.
The company’s general manager, Dean Sheed, said at a media briefing in Wellington that, at present, 40 per cent of Audi NZ sales were the Q range (Q3, Q5 and Q7) but with the addition of the Q2 “50 per cent of the business will be the Q range”.
Photo / Dave Lintott
He said sales targets of the Q2 this year were 250 units but he expected 300 “if we can get the products”.
While this launch model of the Q2 is technically an off-roader, Audi will be leaving that job to the quattro.
Sheed expected 60 per cent of Q2 buyers would be existing Audi owners, coming out of A3s or Q3s, while 40 per cent would be new to the brand, attracted by the price point of the premium crossover.
And a prime example of that was at the Wellington launch earlier this week when a couple approached Driven’s Q2 that was parked outside the cafe where the media briefing was being held.
Already Audi owners, they were keen to hear more about it and were even keen to buy it from us.
Unfortunately for them we had a drive programme to undertake, including negotiating the capital’s tightly packed, narrow road to Mt Victoria, then the busy streets to Parliament for some photo opportunities.
I was impressed with the handling of the Q2 in those narrow roads to Mt Victoria, and the low-end torque that helped me nip up the hill when our side was clear.
Photo / Dave Lintott
Next it was on to the motorway to Martinborough, with the Q2’s biggest challenge the Rimutaka Range that had been pelted with rain during the weekend, causing slips on the side of the decline.
On the passing lane, we pushed the transmission into sport mode to extend the torque line — though the lack of steering wheel-mounted paddles meant we couldn’t easily use the manual option if we wanted a quick gear change.
Instead you had to flick the shift across to the left and then flick it up or down to move gears.
On the roads around Featherson and Martinborough, the Q2 didn’t have many challenging surfaces to negotiate.
But my co-driver, Audi ambassador and Huffer co-founder Steve Dunstan, and I did take it for an off-road trek to a gravel and stone road by a river for a photo op.
An Audi A3 owner was also at the river bank with her two dogs and, like the Wellington couple, was intrigued by the compact crossover, proving the point that this will be a trendsetter.