Long-term test (Update 2): Audi Q2 1,4T FSI Sport S Tronic
It’s become a cliché to mention the perceived quality of a modern Audi interior … so pardon me while I indulge in similar platitudes. With nearly 14 000 km on the clock – 12 011 km of which has been in my care – this Q2’s cockpit feels (cliché alert!) tight as a drum.
In our road test of this Q2 1,4T FSI, we were critical of the cabin finishes of Audi’s compact crossover in light of the (cheaper) A3’s more upmarket interior. In the Q2, the doors are garnished with hard plastics where you might expect to find slush-moulded materials, and the pillars are covered in plastic when it’s become the norm to use cloth for these areas on premium cars.
But, despite those issues, plus riding as it does on 19-inch alloys enfolded by low profile tyres that do the ride no favours – it’s not uncomfortable, just noticeably firm – the Q2’s cockpit has thankfully been spared the sequence of chirps and creaks that often befalls long-termers.
This month, I made an appointment at a local Audi dealership to drive a Q2 1,0T FSI Sport S tronic. The aim was to find out whether the cheaper-by-R46 500 one-litre offers enough punch to make it a worthwhile alternative to the 1,4-litre.
Their soundtracks are distinctly different – the three-cylinder engine sounds deliciously warbly; the extra-cylindered 1,4-litre more refined and smoother – but performance in town felt broadly similar. I can’t help but wonder whether the cheaper model isn’t the one to pick…
That said, I’m enjoying the 1,4-litre on the open road, where it offers enough punch to safely overtake and settles at a languid 2 469 r/min at the national limit, making cross-country progress a polished affair.
After 8 months
Current mileage: 12 011 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,61 L/100 km
We like: dynamic balance; solid, high-quality cabin
We don’t like: consumption's risen in urban use
Long-term test (Update 1): Audi Q2 1,4T FSI Sport S Tronic
I can’t help but fixate on this Q2 long-termer’s as-tested price despite its numerous obvious and more restrained charms.
Subjectively, at nearly R700 000, this Coral Orange Q2 is overpriced. Value for money being a relative concept, however, this month I thought it best to investigate which extras contributing to that bullish total are worthwhile, and which ones are superfluous fripperies.
Let’s start with the good ones. The appeal of a colour, or the design of an object, is wildly subjective, of course, but the lustrous carroty hue (R2 430) and five-spoke 19-inch alloys (R23 000 … ouch) morph the Q2 into a true head-turner.
Other highlights on the options sheet include the Audi Sound System (R4 000 for superb reproduction); adaptive cruise control (more perceptive than many such setups and good value at R5 710, as it adds Pre Sense collision avoidance); artificial leather (R9 000; looks like the real thing at R6 500 less); and Virtual Cockpit, which lifts the cabin (R6 400 but, annoyingly, only if you select the R24 000 MMI Navigation Plus).
I’m less enamoured with the LED headlamps; the spread of light is weaker than on many cars using this tech; the R14 450 can be spent elsewhere. Because I prefer pressing a lock/unlock button on a key fob, I’d save the R6 000 for the comfort key, while the auto function on the climate control goes unused. It’s an upgrade from manual air-con and it’ll cost you R8 000 for a feature that should be standard. Specced carefully, a R529k Q2 1,4T FSI Sport could cost less than R600k, but feels as special.
That’s still lots of money for not a whole lot of metal but, mercifully, besides looking smashing, the Q2 is also rather special to drive.
After 4 months
Current mileage: 6 811 km
Average fuel consumption: 8,17 L/100 km
We like: easy going nature; striking paint-and-alloy combination
We don’t like: meagre standard spec
Long-term test (Introduction): Audi Q2 1,4T FSI Sport S Tronic
This is Audi having fun… See that chamfered shoulder line on the rear door, neatly highlighted in Coral Orange body paint (it also looks particularly striking in Vegas Yellow)? Or the chunky slab of plastic covering the C-pillar that’s available in four contrasting shades? Or the fantastic 19-inch alloys fitted to this car (that are fantastically expensive at R23 000 a set)?
Visual similarities to Volkswagen’s vastly cheaper Cross Polo from the rear aside, the Q2 is one of the best-looking compact crossovers in our market. Next to understated rivals such as the BMW X1, it positively pops off the tar in a way few Audis do. As you would have read in the test, our fleet vehicle is the 1,4T FSI model that comes as standard in Sport trim, which nets you body-hugging seats, 17-inch alloys, ESP instead of ESC, and some trim bits and bobs. The 110 kW/250 N.m engine with cylinder-shutdown tech is coupled with the VW Group’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that, depending on the application, can be notably tardy from pull-away, or slickly calibrated, as it is here (I’ve already grown used to a slight hesitancy at low speeds).
On top of Sport trim, to this Q2 Audi SA has added costly items such as satellite navigation, an upgraded audio system, LED headlamps, adaptive cruise and a panoramic sunroof, among others. That bumps the already bullish base price of R529 500 to just short of R700 000. Ouch.
Observant petrolheads will know you can get the recently facelifted A3 1,4T FSI Sportback S tronic for R90 000 less. Heck, even a 2,0T FSI model can be had for R455 500…
I’ll delve deeper into the subject of value for money as the year progresses, but for now the Q2 has quickly settled into an easygoing groove on my congested commute from the Atlantic Seaboard to CAR’s offices in Ndabeni.
The ride is nuggety on those low-profile tyres, but the damping is of such quality that the suspension, despite running a simple torsion beam at the rear, deals with scars before they penetrate the cabin, and the sportier seats are supportive and comfortable on long hauls.
On that note, the Q2’s practical crossover credentials were tested on a 700 km sojourn up the West Coast, where it housed three adults and a weekend’s worth of luggage. Everyone fit comfortably and the moderately sized boot was just about big enough.
Fuel consumption on the trip was 7,90 L/100 km, which is acceptable considering the air-con was running full-blast, and high-speed stability in gusting cross-winds proved particularly impressive.
After 1 month
Current mileage: 1 009
Average fuel consumption: 8,18 L/100 km
We like: styling; punchy engine; size
We don’t like: price compared with A3 Sportback