New Audi Q2 exclusive

2 May, 2012 9:00am Michael Taylor

The Audi Q2 SUV will sit below the Q3 and take the fight to the big-selling Nissan Juke

Audi already has three SUVs, and the Q6 is in the pipeline – but that still isn’t enough. Sources insist the company is running prototypes of its smallest off-roader yet: the Nissan Juke-rivalling Q2.

Our exclusive images reveal the new baby SUV – which is expected to be previewed by a concept in the next 12 months. And as you can see, it will look sportier than the five-door Q3.

The compact body means it should be light enough to run the A1’s engine family, too, which will mean the latest 1.4-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbo, complete with cylinder deactivation. With the lion’s share of sales expected in Europe, it will come with an efficient 1.6-litre diesel, too.

Inside, the Q2 is being set up as a strict four-seater, with a folding rear seat layout to maximise what promises to be limited luggage space. That’s because the roofline is expected to swoop down significantly to produce a smaller, high-rise SUV in the style of BMW’s X6.

The Q2’s face will be closer in design to the A1 than the A3, while introducing advanced LED headlight technology never before seen in small cars. Off-road ability will be understandably limited, as the Q2 range will be predominantly front-wheel drive, although higher-powered versions will get quattro four-wheel drive.

Audi will encourage buyers to follow the lead set by the MINI and A1 by personalising their Q2s. They will be able to change the roof and mirror colours, major interior trim panels and even seats and steering wheel options.

A final production version of the Q2 would take between two and three years to deliver, though, and sources have hinted that the timing of its introduction would depend largely on the model cycles of the existing Audi products around it.

The A3 and A1 Sportback launch this year, while the Q3 only arrived last year, so such a development cycle would see the Q2 appear just before the small-car range is facelifted in 2014.

It would also move to the MQB Group architecture – the platform that underpins the new A3 and next VW Golf – meaning the car will be more advanced than the A1 it’s set to sit alongside.

That will leave the Q3 and Q5 as mainstream five-door SUVs, and sources insist there are no plans to plug the obvious numerical gap between them. “The question is if we need a Q4 between the Q3 and the Q5. Right now we think we don’t,” one source suggested.

“At higher pricing levels it makes sense to have a lower-volume niche model such as the Q6, but this can’t be justified in the lower segment.”