Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The 1.0-litre petrol engine (badged 30 TFSI) is fine for town and light motorway use, but can struggle at higher speeds when loaded heavily with passengers and luggage. For more flexible performance, the 148bhp 1.4-litre engine (35 TFSI) is a better bet. It has plenty of mid-range shove and makes a better fist of propelling a fully laden Q2.
If you want even more shove, the 40 TFSI – a 187bhp 2.0 petrol – sits at the top of the tree. It’s undoubtedly quick, but you have to work it hard to extract its full performance. Given that you can only have it in conjunction with the more expensive trim levels, you’ll pay a lot for the privilege, too.
Although the 148bhp 2.0-litre 35 TDI is the punchiest diesel engine in the range, it, too is a pricey option; you can order it only from mid-spec Sport trim upwards, with an automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive. Anyone looking for low running costs without sacrificing decent performance will find the 30 TDI with 115bhp a better compromise. It's not exactly quick, but it delivers good pulling power from low to mid revs, so will haul a Q2 full of people and luggage along quite happily.
Suspension and ride comfort
Aside from the range topping Vorsprung cars, which come with adaptive suspension, all models of Q2 come with ‘dynamic’ suspension as standard. It’s a firmer setup than you will find on a Volkswagen T-Roc or Peugeot 2008 and the Q2 is more unsettled than those rivals on pockmarked urban roads as a result. Therefore, we’d suggest sticking to the smallest wheels available (16in on Technik, 17in on Sport trim and 18in on S Line) to maximise ride comfort.
The adaptive suspension of Vorsprung cars allows you to switch between a softer ride for comfort or a firmer setting for sportier driving. It works well, giving the Q2 impressive body control on tight and twisting country roads and just enough pliancy around town, despite the fact that Vorsprung cars wear massive 19in wheels as standard.
The Q2 shares a platform with the A3 hatchback. That's a car that handles pretty sweetly, so it’s no surprise that the Q2 corners well, too. Sure, being a jacked-up SUV leads to it exhibiting a touch more body lean than you'd encounter in the lower-riding A3, but the Q2 still corners more flatly than many of its SUV rivals, including the Peugeot 2008 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. It even out-handles the Mini Countryman. There’s also lots of grip in bends and, if you order the four-wheel-drive version, plenty of traction when pulling out of side turnings.
Although the optional sports suspension certainly helps to keep the Q2 more upright than the less firm dynamic option, we reckon it harms ride quality too noticeably to be worthwhile. In fact, this is where the adaptive setup comes into its own; it enables you to stiffen the suspension to maximise agility when you want it, or to leave things in a more comfortable setting should the mood take you.
All versions come with Audi’s progressive steering. This means the steering gets quicker the more you turn the wheel, so fewer turns are required when parking and manoeuvring, but the car still feels stable at motorway speeds. On higher trims, you also get a drive mode switch to alter the weight of the steering; the lighter Comfort setting is preferable to the overly heavy and supposedly sporty Dynamic mode.
Noise and vibration
The 30 TFSI is a raspy three-cylinder engine and, although you can hear it buzzing away, the sound it makes isn’t unpleasant. The 35 TFSI is smoother at low revs, but becomes slightly coarse when you work it hard, with a gravelly tone as the revs climb higher. The 40 TFSI is smoother still, with a pleasingly sporty sound near the top of the rev range, while both diesel engines are well mannered – the higher powered 35 TDI being just that bit sweeter than the 30 TDI.
At motorway speeds, any Q2 cruises fairly quietly. Little wind noise enters the passenger compartment, so it’s a relaxing car to take on long journeys, although there is some road noise – particularly on models with larger alloy wheels.
The six-speed manual gearbox is light and slick, and the clutch bites positively. Combined with the well-weighted and progressive brakes, this makes the Q2 an easy car to drive smoothly in stop-start traffic. However, like many other Audi automatic gearboxes we’ve sampled, the dual-clutch S tronic 'box (optional on most models and standard with the most powerful petrol and diesel engines) is rather slow to respond, with a pronounced lag when you put your foot down. This is frustrating when trying to join roundabout gaps or pull smoothly out of a junction. Fortunately, you can put it into manual mode and use the steering wheel-mounted paddles to shift through the gears instead; the gearbox is much smoother and more responsive when used this way.