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It’s easy to see why small SUVs are so incredibly popular. Despite the high-rise driving position and roughty-toughty looks they’re a manageable size in town and don’t require fuelling every ten minutes like some bigger 4x4s. But if you prefer your small SUVs fast rather than frugal, the Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI quattro might be of interest.
Instead of some weedy lightweight of an engine, you get a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol lump with a healthy 187bhp. This is channeled to all four wheels by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. If you only need two-wheel drive and prefer to shift your own gears you’re out of luck.
Besides, the combination of an auto ’box and four-wheel drive is good for a claimed 0-62mph time of 6.5sec and a top speed of 141mph. That’s hot hatch territory. Given that the Q2 is one of the best handling small SUVs out there, it could be quite a combination.
2018 Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI 190 quattro on the road
Twist the key and you’re reminded of one of the big advantages of petrol power: peace and quiet. The engine starts smoothly and settles into a subdued and vibration-free idle that’s more refined than the – still impressive – 2.0-litre TDI diesel. Even if you decide to find out where the motor’s rev-limiter is, it avoids becoming coarse and actually sounds fairly sporty when revved, too.
But strangely it doesn’t feel all that sporty when you put your foot to the floor. While it fires itself off the line thanks to buckets of quattro traction, you have to work the engine hard before it feels quick on the move. Even then, it doesn't feel as swift as that 0-62mph time would suggest.
Thankfully, the quick shifting dual-clutch gearbox makes it easy to drop a couple of gears should you want to get somewhere quickly. Should you not be in a hurry, it changes gear smoothly in auto mode when cruising, although it can be a little jerky in stop-start traffic or when maneuvering.
As this engine is only available with S line or Edition #1 trims, the smallest wheels you can have are 18in in diameter. These contribute to a ride that’s firm and can leave you wincing should you accidentally drive through one of the many potholes around at the moment. Pothole's aside, the Q2 is firm, but never truly uncomfortable thanks to well judged damping that prevents it from being too bouncy.
The stiff suspension pays dividends in the corners, too. There’s little body lean and the Q2 feels eager to scythe through bends at speed. Standard Progressive steering that gets quicker the more you turn the wheel helps the Q2 feel even more agile. Unlike some similar systems, it doesn’t make placing the nose of the car a guessing game, either: it’s always accurate and predictable.
Predictable is a good way to describe how the Q2 behaves if you really push it, too. Grip levels are very high and it has no nasty vices. If you find fun in getting from A to B quickly you’ll probably be very happy.
2018 Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI 190 quattro interior
It’s fair to say that the Q2 has one of the finest interiors of any small SUV. There’s plenty of squishy plastic, crisp displays and good-looking trims. It’s not all good, though, because while some scratchy plastic is to be expected lower down, the huge expanse of it on the door cards is less appealing. Ultimately, it’s very good for the class, but a Mini Countryman is even better.
The Mini is more practical, too. Not only is there more room in the back but the boot is bigger too. Even so, four adults shouldn’t grumble too much in the Q2. If you’re still interested, check out our comprehensive review of the Audi Q2 for full details of the car’s space and practicality.
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