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Audi Q2 2021 review

The Q2 and SQ2 are like twins with very different personalities.
EXPERT RATING
7.3
The updated Audi Q2 has brought new features, but the big news is it's brought a friend, one that's a bit loud and obnoxious, but a lot of fun.

Audi’s littlest and most affordable SUV, the Q2, has been updated with new looks and tech, but something else has snuck in with it. Or should I say roared in? It’s the SQ2, with a whopping 300 horsepower and a snarling bark.

So, this review has something for everybody. It’s for those who want to know what’s new for the Q2 in this latest update - those thinking of  buying a cool-looking little SUV from Audi - and for those who want to wake their neighbours up and frighten their friends.

Ready? Let’s go.

Audi Q2 2021: 40 Tfsi Quattro S Line
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$49,900

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The Q2 entry grade is the 35 TFSI and it lists for $42,900, while the 40 TFSI quattro S line is $49,900. The SQ2 is the king of the range and lists at $64,400.

The SQ2 has never been to Australia before, and we’ll get to its standard features in a moment.

Aussies have been able to buy a 35 TFSI or 40 TFSI since the Q2 arrived in 2017, but now both have been updated with new styling and features. The good news is the prices have only gone up by a few hundred bucks,  compared to the old Q2.

The Q2 has LED headlights and DRLs. (40 TFSI variant pictured) The Q2 has LED headlights and DRLs. (40 TFSI variant pictured)

Standard on the 35 TFSI are LED headlights and taillights, LED DRLs, leather seats and steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight-speaker stereo with digital radio, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.

That was all standard on the previous 35 TFSI, but here’s what’s new: an 8.3-inch media screen (the old one was seven inches); a proximity key with push button start (great news); wireless phone charging (brilliant), heated exterior mirrors (more helpful than you’d think), ambient interior lighting (aww… pretty); and 18-inch alloys (heck yes).

Inside is a 8.3-inch media screen. (SQ2 variant pictured) Inside is a 8.3-inch media screen. (SQ2 variant pictured)

The 40 TFSI quattro S line adds sports front seats, drive-mode selection, a power tailgate, and paddle shifters. The previous one had all that, too, but this new one has the sporty S line exterior body kit (the previous car was just called Sport not S line).

Now, the 45 TFSI quattro S line may appear  not to get much more than the 35 TFSI, but the extra money is getting you more grunt and an awesome all-wheel-drive system –  the 35 TFSI is front-wheel-drive only. If you love driving and can’t afford the SQ2, then $7K extra for the 45 TFSI is absolutely worth it.

  • The 35 TFSI wears 8-inch alloy wheels. (35 TFSI variant pictured) The 35 TFSI wears 8-inch alloy wheels. (35 TFSI variant pictured)
  • The 40 TFSI scores a unique set of 18-inch alloy wheels. (40 TFSI variant pictured) The 40 TFSI scores a unique set of 18-inch alloy wheels. (40 TFSI variant pictured)
  • Stepping up to the SQ2 adds 19-inch alloy wheels. (SQ2 variant pictured) Stepping up to the SQ2 adds 19-inch alloy wheels. (SQ2 variant pictured)

If you have saved all your pennies and the SQ2 is what you’re zeroing in on, then here’s what you get: Metallic/pearl effect paint, 19-inch alloys, matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators, the S body kit with quad exhaust, sports suspension, Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, 10-colour ambient lighting, stainless-steel pedals, auto parking, a fully digital instrument cluster, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo.

Of course, you get an incredible high-output four-cylinder engine, too, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The SQ2 adds features such as Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats and a fully digital instrument cluster. (SQ2 variant pictured) The SQ2 adds features such as Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats and a fully digital instrument cluster. (SQ2 variant pictured)

2021 Audi Q2

Explore the 2021 Audi Q2 range

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

This updated Q2 looks almost identical to the previous one and really the only changes are subtle styling tweaks to the front and back of the car.

The front air vents (they aren’t real air vents on the Q2, but they are on the SQ2) are now larger and pointier and the top of the grille is lower. Around the back, the bumper now has a similar design to the front, with those pointy polygons set wide apart.

It’s an angular little SUV, full of sharp-edged shapes like some kind of acoustical wall in an auditorium.

  • This updated Q2 looks almost identical to the previous one. (35 TFSI variant pictured) This updated Q2 looks almost identical to the previous one. (35 TFSI variant pictured)
  • The rear bumper now has a similar design to the front. (35 TFSI variant pictured) The rear bumper now has a similar design to the front. (35 TFSI variant pictured)

The SQ2 just looks more aggro, with its metallic-trimmed air vents and beefy quad exhaust. 

The new colour is called Apple Green and it’s not really like any colour on the road – well not since 1951, anyway when this hue was hugely popular on everything from cars to telephones. It’s also very close to Disney’s “Go Away” green – look it up and then ask yourself if you should be driving a car that’s kind of invisible to the human eye.

I digress. Other colours in the range include Brilliant Black, Turbo Blue, Glacier White, Floret Silver, Tango Red, Manhattan Grey and Navarra Blue.

  • The front air vents are fake on the Q2. (40 TFSI variant pictured) The front air vents are fake on the Q2. (40 TFSI variant pictured)
  • The Q2 is tiny, at 4208mm end to end. (40 TFSI variant pictured) The Q2 is tiny, at 4208mm end to end. (40 TFSI variant pictured)

Inside, the cabins are the same as before, apart from the larger, sleeker media display, and there are some new trim materials, too. The 35 TFSI has silver inlays with a diamond paint finish, while the 40TFSI has aluminium door sills.

The Q2 has beautiful quilted Nappa leather upholstery, which goes beyond just covering the seats and to the centre console, doors and armrests.

All options offer well laid out and premium feeling cabins, but the disappointing part is that it's an older Audi design, which started out in the third-generation A3, launched in 2013, and still exists on the Q2, even though most Audi models, including the Q3, have the new interior design. This would bug me if I was thinking about buying a Q2. 

  • The SQ2 just looks more aggro than the rest of the range. (SQ2 variant pictured) The SQ2 just looks more aggro than the rest of the range. (SQ2 variant pictured)
  • The SQ2 has a beefy quad exhaust. (SQ2 variant pictured) The SQ2 has a beefy quad exhaust. (SQ2 variant pictured)

Have you thought about a Q3? It’s not that much more in price, and it’s a tad bigger, obviously. 

The Q2 is tiny, at 4208mm end to end, 1794mm wide and 1537mm tall. The SQ2 is longer at 4216mm long, 1802mm wide and 1524mm tall.  

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

The Q2 is basically a current model Audi A3, but more practical. I’ve lived with the A3 Sedan and Sportback and while rear legroom is just as confined in those as it is in the Q2 (I’m 191cm and need to squish my knees behind my driving position) getting in and out is easier in the SUV, with its elevated ride height and taller door apertures.

The Q2 is basically a current model Audi A3, but more practical. (40 TFSI variant pictured) The Q2 is basically a current model Audi A3, but more practical. (40 TFSI variant pictured)

The easier access helps enormously when helping kids into their child seats. In an A3 I need to kneel on the footpath to be at the right level to put my son into the car, but not with the Q2.

The boot space of the Q2 is 405 litres (VDA) for the front-wheel-drive 35 TFSI and for the SQ2 it’s 355 litres. That not bad, and the large hatch makes for a big opening, which is more practical than a sedan’s boot.

  • Boot space in the SQ2 is rated at 355 litres. (SQ2 variant pictured) Boot space in the SQ2 is rated at 355 litres. (SQ2 variant pictured)
  • The cargo capacity of the Q2 is 405 litres. (40 TFSI variant pictured) The cargo capacity of the Q2 is 405 litres. (40 TFSI variant pictured)

Inside, the cabin isn’t enormous, but rear headroom is good, thanks to the fairly high roof.

Cabin storage isn’t terrific, although the front door pockets are big and there are two cupholders up front.

Rear headroom is good, thanks to a fairly high roof. (SQ2 variant pictured) Rear headroom is good, thanks to a fairly high roof. (SQ2 variant pictured)

Only the SQ2 has USB ports in the back for rear passengers, but all Q2s have two USB ports up front for charging and media – plus all have wireless charging for phones.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

There are three grades and each has a different engine. 

The 35 TFSI has a new 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine making 110kW and 250Nm; the 40 TFSI has a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four making 140kW and 320 Nm; and the SQ2 has a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol as well, but it puts out a very impressive 221kW and 400Nm.

The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in the 40 TFSI has a makes 140kW/320 Nm. (40 TFSI variant pictured) The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in the 40 TFSI has a makes 140kW/320 Nm. (40 TFSI variant pictured)

The 35 TFSI is front-wheel drive, while the 45 TFSI quattro S line and SQ2 are both all-wheel drive.

All have a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission – nope you can’t get a manual. There are also no diesel engines in the line-up.

 The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in SQ2 form, produces 221kW/400Nm. (SQ2 variant pictured) The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in SQ2 form, produces 221kW/400Nm. (SQ2 variant pictured)

I drove all three cars and, from an engine perspective, it’s like turning the ‘Smile Dial’ up from Mona Lisa in the 35 TFSI, to Jim Carrey in the SQ2, with Chrissy Teigen in between.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Audi engines are superbly modern and efficient – even its monster V10 can shut down cylinders to save fuel, and so can the new 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine in the 35 TFSI. Audi says that over a combination of urban and open roads, the 35 TFSI should use 5.2L/100km.

The 40 TFSI is thirstier at 7L/100km, but the SQ2 demands a bit more at 7.7L/100km. Still, not bad. 

What’s not good is the lack of a hybrid, PHEV or EV variant of the Q2. I mean the car is small and ideal for the city, and therefore a perfect candidate for an electric version. Not having a hybrid or EV is why the Q2 model range doesn’t score well for its overall fuel economy.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

The Q2 was given the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2016, but by 2021 standards it is light on advanced safety tech.

Yes, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection is standard on all Q2s and the SQ2, and so is blind-spot warning, but there’s no rear cross traffic alert or reverse AEB, while lane-keeping assistance is only standard on the SQ2, along with adaptive cruise control.

For a car that will most likely be purchased by younger people, it doesn’t seem right that they’re not being protected as well they would be in more expensive Audi models.

For child seats, there are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether anchor mounts.

A space-saver spare is under the boot floor.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

The pressure for Audi to move to a five-year warranty must be hugely intense, with Mercedes-Benz offering one, along with pretty much every other mainstream brand. But for now, Audi will only cover the Q2 for three years/unlimited kilometres.

As for servicing, Audi offers a five-year plan for the Q2 costing $2280 and covering every 12-month/15000km service over that time. For the SQ2, the cost is only a fraction higher at $2540.  

What's it like to drive?   8/10

When it comes to the driving part, Audi can almost do no wrong – everything the company makes, whether it’s low powered or rip-your-face-off fast, has all the ingredients for engaging driving.

The Q2 range is no different. The entry-grade 35 TFSI has the least grunt and, with its front wheels pulling the car along, it’s the only one in the family that’s not blessed with all-wheel drive, but unless you’re doing laps at a track you’re not going to be wanting more power. 

The most affordable Q2 performed well. (35 TFSI variant pictured) The most affordable Q2 performed well. (35 TFSI variant pictured)

I drove the 35 TFSI for more than 100km on the launch, through the country and into the city, and in all situations, from overtaking on highways to merging and slow traffic, the most affordable Q2 performed well. That 1.5-litre engine is responsive enough and the dual-clutch transmission changes swiftly and smoothly. 

Superb steering and good visibility (although that rear three-quarter view is slightly obstructed by the back pillar) makes the 35 TFSI easy to drive.

When it comes to the driving part, Audi can almost do no wrong. (40 TFSI variant pictured) When it comes to the driving part, Audi can almost do no wrong. (40 TFSI variant pictured)

The 45 TFSI is a good mid-point between the 35 TFSI and the SQ2 and comes with a very noticeable bump in oomph, while the extra traction from the all-wheel drive is a reassuring addition. 

The SQ2 isn’t the hardcore beast you might think it is – this thing would be super easy to live with daily. Yes, it has firm sports suspension, but it’s not overly hard, and that engine, which nudges almost 300 horsepower, doesn’t feel like a Rottweiler on the end of a leash. If anything, it’s a Blue Heeler that loves to run and run, but is happy to take it easy and get fat.  

The SQ2 isn’t the hardcore beast you might think it is. (SQ2 variant pictured) The SQ2 isn’t the hardcore beast you might think it is. (SQ2 variant pictured)

The SQ2 is my pick of the bunch, and not just because it’s quick, agile, and has an intimidating growl. It’s also comfortable and luxurious, with sumptuous leather seats.  

Verdict

The Q2 is good value and great to drive – especially the SQ2. The exterior looks new, but the cabin feels older than the larger Q3, and most other Audi models.

More standard advanced safety tech would make the Q2 even more appealing, as would a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. While we’re at it, a hybrid variant would make enormous sense. 

So, a great car, but Audi could offer more to make it an even better proposition for buyers. 

Pricing guides

$47,175
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$41,950
Highest Price
$52,400

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
35 Tfsi 1.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $42,900 2021 Audi Q2 2021 35 Tfsi Pricing and Specs
35 Tfsi Design (1.4 Tfsi) 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $41,950 2021 Audi Q2 2021 35 Tfsi Design (1.4 Tfsi) Pricing and Specs
35 Tfsi Design Edition 2 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $44,550 2021 Audi Q2 2021 35 Tfsi Design Edition 2 Pricing and Specs
40 Tfsi Quattro S Line 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $49,900 2021 Audi Q2 2021 40 Tfsi Quattro S Line Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.3
Price and features8
Design7
Practicality7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Safety7
Ownership6
Driving8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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