There are many things that you can say about Audi, but largely “experimental” hasn’t been one of them. Don’t get me wrong: Audi does a lot of cool stuff, and it does it very well. The original Audi Quattro was an automotive spectacle, its A4 is a beloved ground-floor luxury sedan, and the R8 (in all flavors) is a gold standard in the supercar segment. But compared to some other automakers out there, Audi can be notoriously conservative.
It’s why the brand hasn’t yet followed BMW or Acura or Mercedes-Benz and engineered a questionable coupe-bodied SUV, or why it doesn’t have a good answer for the BMW Z4 or Mercedes SLC (née SLK). Behind its “advancement through technology” moniker, Audi is a sensible luxury brand for sensible wealthy people.
But Audi is also learning that younger luxury buyers don’t always want sensibility and conservatism, two traits often correlated with older people. And so to court the younger crowds (specifically urban-dwelling ones), Audi has brought us the new Q2.
Though it’s clearly an Audi, the Q2 takes after the new Q7. It drops the Four Rings’ renowned streamlined pretensions in favor of a more muscular, angular look. It offers short overhangs and ample ground clearance, so city folk looking to get out of the metropolis won’t have to be relegated to asphalt when exploring leads to some dirt roads.
In Europe, Audi will offer six different engines: A 1.0-liter three-cylinder TFSI, two four-cylinder gasoline engines are being offered with 1.4 or 2.0 liters of displacement. And three four-cylinder diesel engines are available with either 1.6 and 2.0 liters of displacement. Power output ranges from 116 horsepower to 190 horsepower, but we figure it’s only a matter of time before there’s an SQ2.
The Q2 sits on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture, and the brand promises — stop us if you’ve heard this before — driving dynamics that are “sporty and low like in an Audi sedan, but all-round visibility is very good as is typical of an SUV.” In that case, it should be nice and at home fighting the Mercedes GLAs, Infiniti QX30s, and Volvo V40s of the world, in addition to Audi’s own Q3.
The interior is decidedly Audi (the knobs and buttons below the vents are immediately recognizable from earlier A3s), and an otherwise dark interior is punctuated by some very attractive highlighting. Audi promises many “exterior colors and expressive colors for interior trim and seat upholstery allow plenty of creative space for personal configuration,” so the online configurator should be lots of fun once it goes live.
Chances are good that prices will be comparable to those seen on the A3, though with trims and options, it could be quite an expansive range. It’s slated to go on sale later this year in Europe.