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VW Group's ubiquitous MQB platform underpins Audi's new Q2 crossover available in front-drive and AWD quattro versions.

Audi's new compact Q2 blends 3-cylinder efficiency, agile chassis

Audi continues to expand its SUV line-up as the latest, the Q2, enters global markets joining the Q3, Q5 (a new, Mexico-built generation is about to be launched), and Q7.

Based  on Volkswagen Group's remarkably successful MQB platform and with a wide choice of engines including a powerful 2.0-L gasoline with cylinder deactivation, the Q2 is a compact solution with 4.19-m (13.7-ft) overall length, 2.60-m (8.5-ft) wheelbase and (for its genre) a relatively low overall height of 1.51 m (4.9 ft). The body design features short overhangs.

Audi designers wanted to get away from the high-Cg looks of many SUVs and has successfully given the Q2 a sloping roofline that has a hint of coupe about it, with an eye toward younger buyers. A very clear shoulder line divides below the greenhouse into two contours framing a concave surface with six corners. The wide C pillars get a contrasting color on most variants.

High-strength steels have been used in 22% of the Q2’s structure, including its A- and B-pillars, roof and floor. The car has a curb weight of 1205 kg (2656 lb).

The Q2 has a best Cd figure of 0.30—interestingly the same as a version of the long and rather odd-looking Audi 100 sedan of the mid-1980s, demonstrating how aerodynamics, particularly the more subtle aspects of the discipline have improved. The old 100 had flush windows which was a significant move in reducing Cd. The new SUV has aerodynamically optimized air inlets in the front bumper and blades on the C-pillars and a roof edge spoiler extending to the rear. The rear light lenses have spoilers. Airflow to the radiator has received attention, as has the underbody.

The broad choice of gasoline and diesel engines includes the top-line 2.0-L TFSI producing 140 kW (188 hp) combined with 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. Cylinder deactivation is offered on both this and a 1.4-L gasoline engine.

Base power comes from the 3-cylinder, 1.0-L version of VW's EA211 TFSI family, with 74.5 x 76.4-mm (2.93 × 3.01-in) bore and stroke. The triple is rated at a claimed 85 kW (114 hp) and is remarkably light at a claimed 88 kg (49 lb) dry.

A 2.0-L diesel delivers a maximum torque of 340 N·m between 1750 and 3000 rpm. It also gets S tronic and quattro. The diesel has twin balancer shafts, separate cooling circuits, a cylinder pressure sensor, and Bosch common rail injection operating at 2000 bar (29,000 psi).

Front suspension is MacPherson strut with lower wishbones and cast aluminum pivot bearings. At the rear, front drive versions of the Q2 get a lightweight torsion-beam rear axle but quattros have a 4-link set up.

An alternative to the regular suspension is a sport variant, with body lowered by 10 mm (.39 in). It also has adaptive settings. The lower stance and slightly larger wheels improve one of the Q2’s few aesthetic lapses: a noticeable gap between the top of the tires and the wheel arches.

Driven in Europe by the author, the Q2 demonstrated the excellent ride handling balance now an established part of the MQB chassis. The driving position is lower than that of many SUVs and is much the better for it. The standard “progressive steering” adapts to vehicle speed and is lighter feeling at the wheel for city driving.

Sport suspension gives the car a sharper feel but is very firm and transmits poor road surface effects; the car feels more settled on regular suspension.

The connectivity package is comprehensive and Audi offers the company's virtual cockpit display featuring a 12.3-in, 1440 x 540-pixel TFT) as an alternative to analogue instruments. The system uses a Tegra 30 chip from NVIDIA.

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