New Audi Q2 heads brand's SUV boom

28 Jan, 2016 8:45am Michael Taylor

Exclusive images show look of Audi’s new Q2 crossover ahead of Geneva 2016 debut

Audi is set to place its shiny new Q2 badge on a radically styled SUV in time for March’s Geneva Motor Show. As the smallest SUV in the brand’s line-up, the newcomer – revealed in our exclusive images – will be aimed at a younger audience than Audi has ever previously considered.

The Q2 is based on the MQB platform that underpins the A3. Entry-level models will get front-wheel drive as standard, with top-spec cars using quattro all-wheel drive. It’ll be available only as a five-door, and will be significantly shorter than the Q3. A three-door Q2 was considered, but sources suggest it’s since been dropped.

Due on sale in the summer, the car will be the first product from Audi design boss Marc Lichte, who came from VW in late 2013 to replace Wolfgang Egger. Lichte announced his arrival with the stunning prologue concept in 2014. He’s been relishing the chance to deliver a radical production car after criticism of the conservative Q7 and A4.

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The Q2’s youth orientation has allowed the stylists to wriggle free of the brand’s usual constraints. The model’s most distinctive feature will be a huge chamfered cutout along its waistline on both doors, a forward-stretching cabin and large rear shoulders.

Audi’s also taken lessons from its MINI-rivalling A1 in allowing everything from interior to roof colour to be personalised – and even aluminium or carbon fibre for the C-pillars.

Original design prototypes carried an egg-crate pattern inside the single-frame grille, rather than Audi’s traditional horizontal bars. But sources suggest conservatism may have crept back in and seen its face revert to type.

Inside, the Q2 will use splashes of colour unseen in recent mainstream Audis, and will deliver eclectic trims and materials. A senior source told us: “We tried to characterise the Q2 as an urban street feature, not just a car. The customer can build the character of their own cars.”

There’ll be more hard surfacing than is usual for Audi, but only because research suggests buyers in this new sector will be less considerate about how they use their cars. A source said: “We want to capture a particularly young clientele. The Q2 is very different from SUVs such as the Q7. It’s a bolder design, and everything’s accentuated more than you’d normally expect from us.”

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The Q2 won’t necessarily become a technical leader for the brand, as it’ll carry over a lot of existing mechanical and technical components. It will take a step forward in connectivity, though.

While there are no plans for SQ2 or RS Q2 variants yet, standard models will use four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. That would give Audi the choice to deliver the 1.0, 1.4 and 2.0-litre petrol turbos, as well as a range of 1.6 and 2.0 TDI diesels. There’s no talk of a hybrid yet, although that seems inevitable at a later date.

The Q2 will sit above upcoming small SUVs from inside the VW Group, such as the VW Cross up! and uniquely bodied, Polo-based T-Cross, which will also debut in Geneva.

What do you think of our exclusive images? Let us know in the comments section below...