And yet another ‘sport utility vehicle’ joins the ever-growing flood of such family cars beneath which the highways of the world are gradually disappearing.
Pundits say such vehicles – in earlier days known as station-wagons / shooting brakes (though Mercedes got the spelling wrong in an English media release and called it the Shooting Break – turned out to be the French spelling) and designed to hammer their way across ploughed fields, moors and maybe even peat-bogs with a payload of tweed-coated shotgunners and/or royalty – are now the preferred transport of the middle-class.
The modern version is the epitome of common sense: space for five people or three with several bicycles aboard (boot capacity 405-1050 litres) or camping gear for a week. More ususally, though, merely the mundane monthly shop.
So what does the new Audi Q2, launched this past week (early March 2016) at the Geneva auto show, have to offer? Well, far from its roots in the shrubberry, snobbery and gunsmoke of its forebears, Audi tells us that that its new baby is “an urban-type vehicle for everyday driving and recreation, uniting a progressive design with the high level of functionality, connectivity, infotainment and assistance systems of its full-size class brethren”.
Audi’s head of design Marc Lichte told The Corner in showtime media release: “In the Q2 we’ve developed a distinctively geometric form with model-specific design characteristics – it has an independent character within the Q family.”
It still, however, has a down-tapering rear roofline that, inexplicable, detracts from the very loadspace to which such vehicles aspire. It also has a large silver bash plate astern of the rear wheels that – with most buyers – will probably be the least-scratched part of the bodywork after five years.
Audi also calls it a diffuser.
The vehicle is 1.51m tall, 1.79m wide and 4.19m long beneath which is a 2.60m wheelsbase. It has the driving assistance systems from larger models, among them emergency braking should front sensors recognise other vehicles, or even pedestrians, in its line of travel. Other assistance systems from the Audi Q7 and Audi A4 will also be available.
There’s a standard MMI screen high on the instrument panel. The infotainment system are operated by a rotary/push-button control and two buttons between the front seats. When MMI navigation plus with MMI touch is ordered, the user also gets a touchpad on the central control element. Each is also voice-sensitive and can operated with iOS and Android cellphones.
The Audi Q2 is as individual as its drivers – inside and out. Many equipment packages and paint finishes make personalisation easy; one option, Audi explains, is an LED lighting package with which the cabin can be staged in a particularly attractive way with illuminated trim.
The Q2 will launch globally with a choice of six engines. Two four-cylinder petrol engines are being offered (1.4 and 2.0) along with a one-litre three-cylinder TFSI and three four-cylinder diesel engines are available with (1.6 and 2.0. Power outputs range from 85 to 140kW.
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The standard six-speed manual gearbox can be ditched in favour of a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission (any model). The top TDI and the 2.0 TFSI each has a new dual-clutch, low-friction, box.
If you really do want to go bundu-bashing to impress the neighbours with some manly scratches on the bash plate then opt for permanent all-wheel drive. Europeans (no, merely people who live in Europe) will take that route to handle what seem to be every wetter/colder/snowier/icier winters.
Audi South Africa will launch the Audi Q2 in the first quarter of 2017. Engine choice, specifications and prices nearer to that auspicious date.