Small SUV packs a big punch and is updated in the face of newer competition
13 September 2021

What is it?

If nothing else tells you this is an Audi from a previous generation, then the relative lack of technology will. No touchscreen, no hybrid assistance, just a good old turbo four in a crossover suit.

Nothing about this facelift has altered that. In an increasingly crowded market for hot crossovers, the SQ2 now has its work cut out, the Hyundai Kona N just the latest to join the fray.

A slight pause here to apologise for the images. Audi was so keen to get this car to journalists that it hasn’t had time to do any UK pictures, hence why we’re running with German, left-hand drive shots. But we did drive a RHD car on UK roads.

The bodywork surgery is minor. The grille is slightly lower and the front bumper has had a minor reworking, but even with pictures of the old and new SQ2 next to each, it’s a struggle to tell which is which. The rear bumper has been slightly revised but again it’s small details.

Inside, there are new door cards. Yes, you read that right. Still, it’s easy to be glib. In reality, the SQ2 hails from a time when Audi dominated the car industry’s interiors and it still feels spot on. The MMI infotainment system is controlled using a wheel and buttons combo that’s easy to work with.

What's it like?

The SQ2’s engine remains the same as before, so it’s the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol that has done time in the Volkswagen Golf R, Cupra Ateca and more. With 296bhp and 295lb ft (from a low 2000rpm), it’s a punchy lump that enables the car to crack 0-62mph in under 5.0sec.

For the most part, it sounds great, only sometimes becoming over-synthesised. I tended to leave the car in Dynamic mode, which makes gearchanges sharper and tightens the steering but also crucially gives the exhaust note more attitude, even letting out a little parp on the overrun.

It suits the car. The SQ2 isn’t the last word in adjustability – prodigious levels of grip are more this car’s shtick – but as a secure and fast way to cross country, it is impressive. The steering is accurate, if bereft of feel, and body roll is well controlled. The let-down is the ride, which is a bit too firm over back roads. Also, kickdown gearchanges from the dual-clutch ’box are lethargic in Comfort mode.

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Should I buy one?

So this isn’t a radical overhaul. But with a tried and tested method, and where the Q2’s sales continue to match the A1’s, you can’t blame Audi for sticking with what works.

It’s not the most nuanced of hot SUVs, but is still an effortless way to get somewhere quickly.

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scrap 13 September 2021

Just buy a Golf R and get a better car for less money.

abkq 13 September 2021
Perhaps the only good looking current Audi. But then pre facelift looked better.