Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Two petrol engines, one diesel
  • Plus a high-performance SQ2
  • Front- and all-wheel drive available

There's not a huge amount of engine choice for the Audi Q2, but what there is covers most bases - two petrols, one diesel, plus a performance-focused SQ2.

TFSI petrol engines

Proceedings kick off with an eager 1.0-litre TFSI three-cylinder engine (badged 30 TFSI), which has 116hp and 200Nm of torque. This is a sweet-revving engine with a characterful three-cylinder sound 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.

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, even though on paper it's the slowest to accelerate taking 10.3 seconds to reach 62mph. This engine is available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.

Engines previously available

A more muscular 2.0-litre badged 40 TFSI was 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 took 6.5 seconds, and it felt like a responsive and surprisingly agile version of the Q2.

Another way to get Quattro all-wheel drive in your Audi Q2 was the larger 2.0-litre diesel. This engine produced 150hp and 340Nm of torque, and came exclusively with the S Tronic gearbox. The 0-62mph sprint took 8.1 seconds, and it went on to reach 131mph.

Audi SQ2

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 properly sporty 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 Individual (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. 

Handling

  • 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. Pick large wheels though and you'll introduce a level of fidgetiness to the ride. 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 previously available 2.0-litre diesel and the 2.0 TFSI petrol engine could be ordered with Quattro four-wheel drive. 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.