The SQ2's powertrain features an identical amount of torque to the Golf R's, at 295lb ft, and 0-62mph is achieved in a claimed 4.8sec. Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system and a DSG automatic gearbox are standard.
This puts the SQ2 0.1sec ahead of the BMW X2 M35i – which is also being shown in Paris - when it comes to 0-62mph acceleration. The two cars share the same limited top speed, although the X2 has a 7bhp and 37lb ft advantage over the SQ2.
The hot Mini Countryman rival is identifiable by its four exhaust pipes at the rear, as well as discreet SQ2 badging and a more aggressive bodykit, including a rear spoiler. The car is 20mm lower than the standard Q2 and a choice of 18in or 19in wheels is available.
Inside, the SQ2 gets a black headliner and black leather and Alcantara seats, which have embossed S logos and extra bolstering to offer support in faster corners. The dashboard gets Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital display as an option, but traditional analogue dials and an infotainment screen are standard. A premium sound system is also fitted.
Adaptive cruise control and Traffic Jam Assist come as standard, meaning the car can steer, brake and accelerate itself at speeds of up to 40mph, although the driver must still have hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
There’s no word on pricing yet: this will likely be revealed closer to the car’s UK orders opening later in the year. First deliveries aren’t expected to start until early 2019, though.
It’s likely that the SQ2 will be priced from around £35,000 – £15,000 more than the entry-level Q2. Emissions and fuel economy data haven’t yet been released.
With the arrival of the SQ2, the only models in Audi's range yet to receive an S performance version are the recently launched E-tron, A7 and A8 and the new Q3. An RS Q2 is expected to join the range later in the car’s lifetime, offering as much as 362bhp from the RS3’s five-cylinder engine.