BMW X1 sDrive 18d 2016 review
Craig Duff road tests and reviews the BMW X1 sDrive 18d with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Craig Duff road tests and reviews the Audi Q2 with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its international launch in Switzerland.
An Audi that doesn't look like every other Audi is a big deal. When that new design debuts in one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, there are big expectations for the Q2 baby SUV.
First impressions are that it should deliver, even if buyers will need to watch the options or risk pushing the price into the territory of the larger Q3, which starts at $42,900.
The logical rival is the Mini Countryman — and Audi, cheekily, reckons its car has Mini-like go-kart like handling. Potential BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA buyers may find the Q2's slightly lower price and similar internal space to be worth a look.
Standard inclusions run from contrasting grey highlights around the bottom of the car and "blades" behind the rear doors, dual-zone aircon, city-speed autonomous emergency braking and a seven-inch infotainment screen with satnav.
The most-touched plastic surfaces are soft, though others are intentionally hard to reinforce the tougher SUV image.
All-wheel drive versions — powered by 2.0-litre turbo petrol or diesel engines — will benefit from a new iteration of the seven-speed dual-clutch auto, sports seats, sports steering wheel and ride on 18-inch alloy rims.
The paintwork on these Sports Line variants will be solid, though the contrasting "blades" remain, this time coloured silver or matte grey. Naturally, you can order the blades in any colour you like if you're prepared to pay for it.
Indeed, most of the advanced features in the Q2 are expected to turn up in the options list, including Audi's virtual cockpit, head-up display, adaptive dampers, adaptive cruise control, blind spot and lane departure assistance and traffic jam assist, which can help steer the car in marked lanes at speeds up to 65km/h.
The Q2's polygonal design stands out among its stablemates and, along with the revised grille, is expected to flow through to the rest of the Q-badged SUV range to help differentiate them from A-badged sedans. Edges and angles can be found on every panel of the car and the theme even extends to the light clusters.
Inside is more familiar territory, especially to A3 Sportback owners, from the circular air vents to the floating infotainment screen. The most-touched plastic surfaces are soft, though others are intentionally hard to reinforce the tougher SUV image.
The tapering roofline doesn't unduly compromise rear headroom, unless you're over 180cm and lean back against the headrest.
The 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine is more than up to the task of propelling the Q2 in city or country.
A scallop in the back of the front seats improves rear legroom and feet can fit under the seat for a bit more room. The only real limitation is the size of the rear door opening: there isn't a lot of room to swing the legs in and out if the front seat is set to accommodate a tallish adult. The upside is the boot is better than big (for the class) at 405L.
Audi has again borrowed from the Mini playbook — and catered to its thirty-something target audience's desire for individuality — with a gobsmacking 5 million combinations of exterior colours and interior detailing.
Switzerland's roads are as smooth as its chocolate. Good news for the Swiss; not so sweet for reviewers trying to gauge how the Q2 will ride on our substandard surfaces.
We'll have to wait until the car arrives locally in the first quarter of next year for a decent assessment of its suspension set-up but the first drive shows how well tied down the Audi is through the turns.
Put that down to widening the track by almost 30mm to compensate for the extra height — and the test cars' fitment of adaptive dampers.
Front wheel-drive variants use a torsion beam rear suspension while the AWD versions should be tied down better courtesy of a multi-link arrangement.
Again, local conditions may change that evaluation but the initial feel is the front-drivers will do the job for most buyers.
It is a fun drive helped by the progressive steering.
The 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine is more than up to the task of propelling the Q2 in city or country. Its real trick is the cylinder-on-demand technology that drops two cylinders when the engine is under light load to save fuel — not only displaying engineering smarts but also being virtually undetectable when disengaging or resuming.
The trademark hesitation off the line from the dual-clutch/turbo driveline transitions into seamless shifts once under way no matter how much pressure is applied to the accelerator.
It is a fun drive helped by the progressive steering (a fancy way of saying it has a variable rack that should mean drivers don't need to reposition their hands on the wheel when making typical turns in the urban environment).
The 2.0-litre quattro petrol (140kW/320Nm) wasn't available to test but it will be the performance pick — until the arrival of S and possibly RS variants.
For those who do long distances on dodgy roads, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel (110kW/ 340Nm) will be the pick.
The new transmission occasionally downshifted harder than anticipated but was every bit as good chugging up through the gears.
Audi's designs on younger buyers have evolved into a sharp new style that sets the Q2 apart from the corporate look.
It is a fresh approach built on an established drivetrain that gives the four-ringed brand a head start in chasing the next generation of premium compact SUV buyers — and there will be a lot more of them in the years to come.
Price ultimately will decide whether this car is a success and that won't be sorted until closer to the Q2's local launch.
|1.4 Tfsi Design||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$25,100 – 33,330||2017 Audi Q2 2017 1.4 Tfsi Design Pricing and Specs|
|1.4 Tfsi YA COD||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$24,100 – 32,780||2017 Audi Q2 2017 1.4 Tfsi YA COD Pricing and Specs|
|1.4 Tfsi YAC Edition 1 COD||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$30,300 – 39,710||2017 Audi Q2 2017 1.4 Tfsi YAC Edition 1 COD Pricing and Specs|
|2.0 TDI Quattro Sport||2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$31,200 – 40,810||2017 Audi Q2 2017 2.0 TDI Quattro Sport Pricing and Specs|