Audi hasn’t shied away from developing SUVs, and in the Q7, Q5 and Q3 has a strong position in the market. But demand evolves, so the vehicles that buyers might have wanted a decade ago don’t suit all of today’s drivers.
The OEM’s SUVs remain popular, but consumers also want smaller vehicles too. Which is why the firm has developed the Q2. Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture, it gives Audi another vehicle to help increase its share of the blossoming compact SUV market.
At 4,191mm long, the Q2 is actually 50mm shorter than the C-segment A3, but stands 84mm taller at 1,508mm, giving it the higher driving position that people crave.
Simon Wirries, programme manager on the Q2 project, says: “The target was to create a young car and a new segment: a luxury, small SUV, which we hopefully did with this car.”
Many OEMs talk about creating a new segment, but few actually are – rather they are creating a niche for their vehicles within a current segment. And it’s this that Audi has attempted to achieve with the Q2, but with the benefit of the MQB architecture which already underpins the A3.
“The Q2 chassis is higher than the A3, and we have some different components because of the bigger wheels,” says Wirries. “We also have an adaptive chassis system – the A3 uses the magnetic ride. But the basic elements, in terms of front suspension, rear suspension, are the same technologies.”
That means the Q2 uses a MacPherson set-up at the front and torsion beam at the rear, when only the front wheels are driven. In all-wheel drive variants the torsion beam is replaced with a multilink system.
At present there are six engines in the line-up, perhaps the most intriguing being the four-cylinder turbocharged direct-injection 1.4-litre gasoline unit with cylinder deactivation which produces 110kW of power between 5,000 and 6,000rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1,500rpm. This can be linked to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel unit produces 85kW/250Nm linked to the same manual transmission.
On the official NEDC test cycle carbon emissions are as low as 114g/km for the diesel engine and 119g/km for the gasoline unit when linked to the dual-clutch transmission (DCT). That equates to fuel efficiency figures of 4.4 and 5.2 litres/100km respectively.
The Q2 uses two variants of the DCT. Wirries says: “They all have seven gears, but we have one dry-clutch version for the smaller engines, 250Nm, and one version for the bigger engines: the 2-litre diesel and the 2-litre TFSI, which will come later, use a wet-clutch, and they have several optimisations.”
Then there is the introduction of the three-cylinder, 999cc gasoline unit. It produces 85kW/200Nm. Use of an aluminium crankcase means the engine weighs 88kg. The crankcase and the cylinder head have their own cooling circuits. The exhaust manifold integrated into the head is an important component, effectively managing thermal attributes.
And, to improve load changes, the intake and exhaust camshafts can be moved through 50º and 40º of crankshaft rotation, respectively. The commonrail system injects at 250bar. Boost pressure in the charged unit can reach up to 1.6bar. It will be interesting to see how efficient it is, as it is yet to be type approved.
While the push will always be lower, the powertrain configurations that have been approved are respectable for even a small SUV, especially considering that the Q2 is made from steel.