- Three petrol engines, three diesels
- Plus a high-performance SQ2
- Front- and all-wheel drive available
In typical Audi fashion, there’s a plethora of engine choice for the Q2 crossover. There are three petrols and two diesels, plus a performance-focused SQ2.
Audi Q2 TFSI petrol engines
Proceedings kick off with an eager, downsized 1.0-litre TFSI three-cylinder engine (badged 35 TFSI), which boasts 115hp and 200Nm of torque. This is a sweet-revving engine with a thrummy, three-cylinder character that provides sufficient performance for this small crossover, capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in 10.1 seconds, and with a 122mph top speed.
Next up is the 150hp 1.5-litre 35 TFSI, which has Cylinder On Demand technology that shuts down two of the four cylinders at light loads to save fuel. It’ll sprint from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, and is a popular model - and for good reason. It’s well mannered and drives well, the S Tronic model feeling particularly well-matched with this engine. Its 250Nm of torque helps here, too.
A more muscular 2.0-litre badged 40 TFSI is also offered in the Q2, delivering a hearty 190hp and pokey performance thanks to 320Nm of torque and Quattro all-wheel drive. The 0-62mph sprint takes just 6.5 seconds, and it feels like a responsive and surprisingly agile version of the Q2. However, it’s hard to justify the high price of this model as the 1.5 TFSI is such a good all-rounder.
This engine can feel overwhelmed when plumbed into an S Tronic automatic gearbox and heavy all-wheel drive system, as in our Audi A3 Saloon S Line 2.0 TFSI long-termer, but in the Q2 it seems to fit much better. The all-wheel drive system, however, is less effective, failing to quash wheelspin when pulling out of junctions reasonably briskly.
On the other hand, the gearbox never gets flustered, proving similarly good at dawdling around town as responding to an impromptu overtaking opportunity. It’s slick, quick to change gear and is very good at choosing the ratio you want, with steering wheel-mounted paddles should you decide to take control.
Audi Q2 TDI diesel engines
The smaller the car, the less likely buyers are to pick a diesel engine, but Audi still says the 116hp 1.6 TDI is a popular motor in the Q2. We can see why: it's refined and offers a generous 250Nm of torque, which will help with overtaking. This engine is available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.
If you want Quattro all-wheel drive on your Audi Q2, you’ll have to step up to the larger 2.0-litre diesel. This engine produces 150hp and 340Nm of torque, and comes exclusively with the S Tronic gearbox. The 0-62mph sprint is taken care of in 8.1 seconds, and it’ll go on to reach 131mph.
Audi SQ2 performance
Late in 2018 Audi added a sportier Q2 to the range – badged SQ2. With 300hp and 400Nm of torque available, Quattro all-wheel drive and an S Tronic gearbox, the SQ2 is a proper little pocket rocket SUV, using the same mechanical parts as the Volkswagen Golf R, Cupra Ateca and Audi S3..
It boasts a 0-62mph time of just 4.8 seconds, and will go on to reach a 155mph limited top speed. On the move, it does feel like those performance figures are believable. With a choice of driving modes available - Comfort, Dynamic and Indicidual (plus an Effiiciency mode) - you can tweak the driving experience with a more aggressive throttle response and weightier steering in Dynamic mode. Floor the throttle and the SQ2 is eager to push forwards thanks to the power and torque on offer, the fast-shifting S-Tronic gearbox and Quattro all-wheel drive to aid traction.
It's worth making sure the gearbox is in S, though, as it can be a bit slow to respond when left in the normal mode and to fend for itself. Take manual control via the paddles and it's quick to respond and even sounds surprisingly good, with pops and crackles coming from the quad exhaust pipes if you time it right. However, it can also be mild-mannered if you like that sort of thing, calming down at a cruise.
- Q2 feels very similar to the A3
- Adaptive dampers optional
- A good balance of ride and handling
The Audi Q2 is based on the oily bits that underpin a host of VW Group small cars, including the VW Golf and Audi A3. So it should come as no surprise that it drives rather like a compact, slightly taller family hatchback. It isn’t at all daunting to pilot around town and the car is easy to place on the road. We found no fault with any engine and trim combination - all handle well and can be hustled around city streets or your favourite country lane with a degree of poise and balance that belie the Q2’s crossover status. It feels more like a warm hatchback than a tall SUV on tip-toes.
With more rubber to distance passengers from the road, plus suspension firmness that can be set to your tastes for maximum comfort, sharper roadholding or your own combination of steering weight, suspension characteristics and engine response, the Q2 is smooth, comfortable and deals with rough roads without fuss. Up the pace and it takes corners well, with its extra height over a similarly sized A3 hatchback being unnoticeable.
The steering is weighty but satisfyingly precise, giving the driver a good sense of control. Meanwhile, the engine itself offers a glut of power from low engine speeds while proving more than quick enough for most drivers if you work it harder.
Adaptive dampers on the Audi Q2
The suspension on most Q2s uses standard dampers, but you can select adaptive dampers as an optional extra, whose stiffness can be tailored via the Audi Drive Select system to engage Comfort or Dynamic modes depending upon your mood. This is a nice option to have, but not compulsory, as we think the Q2 rides and steers quite well enough on the standard chassis – it’s only S Line models with stiffer suspension that jar a little over bad bumps.
All Q2s come with progressive steering, which varies the amount of input required at the wheel to turn the car, depending on your speed. Unlike rival systems, we were impressed by this set-up - the helm feels incredibly natural considering the complexities of the variable rack attached to the (very feelsome and high-quality leather-trimmed) steering wheel.
Front-wheel drive and Quattro drivetrains available
The vast majority of Q2s come with front-wheel drive and this will suit most owners down to the ground. Yes, you can chirrup the front wheels if you nip out of a damp T-junction, but traction for the most part is excellent even with the punchy turbocharged engines. However, the 2.0-litre diesel and the 2.0 TFSI petrol engine can be ordered with Quattro four-wheel drive and if you live in a remote area and want the security blanket of improved traction we’d heartily recommend the extra security it brings.
Audi SQ2 handling
Like many other all-wheel drive cars in the VW Group, the SQ2 provides safe and assured handling without much drama. Traction and grip levels are impressive in the bends - you really have to push the SQ2 hard for it to begin to lose grip - and the steering is quick to respond. However, it doesn't feel as involving as a BMW, with direct steering that doesn't feed back an awful lot to the driver. However, there's little to complain about in terms of how quickly you can cover ground - the SQ2 is a very well-sorted car in terms of performance and handling. It gets around corners without drama, but that incredibly eager engine will punt you out of a corner quicker than many other hot hatchbacks will.