Is the new Audi Q2 an SUV or a coupé? As the IoD’s Junior Bammeke finds out on a test-drive in Switzerland, it’s a car that skilfully blends the best of both…
When you’re buzzing down a Swiss dual carriageway in the new Audi Q2 on a sunny Thursday afternoon, glimmering alpine lakes on one side, coniferous forests on the other, the last thing you expect to happen when taking your foot off the gas is for the steering wheel to start moving on its own. Round and round it spins, while the car lurches off on its own accord.
Meanwhile, your imagination goes into overdrive. What kind of shamanistic wizardry is this? Are all European motors now using Google’s driverless car technology? Is David Blaine hiding inside the chassis? Or could this be the car’s way of telling me I’m a really bad driver?
Luckily, it was only the Audi Q2’s Audi active lane assist, which takes over the car’s steering to help you navigate bends more easily. And for anybody who suffers from that initial ‘what-side-of-the-road-should-I-be-driving-on?’ the second their tyres hit tarmac in a foreign country, active lane assist proved to be a real saviour whenever our mind slipped.
The spark-plugs sorcery doesn’t stop there. Find yourself in a rush-hour gridlock, and the Audi Q2’s traffic jam assist enables you to scythe through glacially slow jams by taking over the steering. Its myriad sensors means if a car whizzes alongside you, the side view of the mirror lights up. Parallel parking dilemmas are also solved via these clever ultrasonic sensors too.
That’s not all: as we discovered in Zurich, the Audi Q2’s pre-sense front can detect pedestrians and recognise traffic signs. It can also help in emergency situations by hard-braking to a standstill, a potentially life-saving measure which Director fortunately didn’t need to employ.
Audi likes to call its new Audi Q2 an SUV. Which is strange given the Q2’s coupé-like contours bear little resemblance to the thunderous, road-hogging four-wheel drives that are normally given the SUV moniker. Neither does its range of peppy colours – ours was a canary-esque ‘Vegas Yellow’, stylishly offset by the petrol and titanium greys of the upholstery.
But the Q2 does have a playful, sporty feel, enhanced by its single-frame grille, low roof and the sunken position of the driver’s seat. It’s the perfect second-car for 20-something entrepreneurs, at home with darting in and out of city rush-hour traffic as it is leisurely weekend spins.
Indeed, whether it was negotiating traffic lights in downtown Zurich or ascending twisty Swiss hilltop roads, the Audi Q2 was a pleasure to drive.
Although the three different monitor displays on the digital dashboard could induce strabismus in some drivers, the Audi Q2’s formidable infotainment system can’t be faulted. Kitted out with ear-dazzlingly fidelitous Bang & Olufsen speakers and operated by rotary or push-button control, it formed a perfect soundtrack to our alpine drives.
The Audi Q2’s “look, no hands!” auto-correct features might be impressive, but to produce a car that’s sporty and smart in equal measures is no mean feat either. It’s clearly a car worth yodelling about from the mountain-tops.
Audi Q2 – photos from Junior Bammeke’s test drive
Torque 400 Nm
Transmission Seven-speed S tronic