Having proven how successfully it can do small, medium and large conventional SUVs, Audi’s Q family is about to get a whole lot more stylish and exciting.

Over the next few years we’ll see some even-numbered Q models, with coupé-aping styling, steadily slotting in next to their existing odd-numbered equivalents and offering more dynamic driving experiences as well as the sharper looks.

Next to the new Q5 will be a BMW X4-rivalling Q4, and alongside the seven-seat Q7 will be an X6-chasing Q6. Topping the range will be the Q8 which may take the coupé shaped SUV segment into a whole new arena.

But ahead of them all comes this road test debutant, ready to prove that there’s still no more trendy car on the planet than a fashionable compact crossover: it’s the small but eye-catchingly formed Q2.

First seen as the Crosslane Coupé concept in 2012, the Q2 is the fourth new SUV from the Volkswagen Group to arrive in a year that is based on the increasingly ubiquitous ‘modular transverse matrix’, or MQB, platform – coming on the heels of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Seat Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq.

The next Skoda Yeti will move onto the same underpinnings, too. But you’d be ignoring an apparently quite different mission statement if you blithely bundled the Q2 in with those in-house siblings.

Audi is playing to a younger and more design-conscious crowd here than most crossover makers have of late, and is clearly beckoning to owners of the likes of the Nissan Juke, Mini Paceman, DS 4 Crossback and others to come and experience life in an equally alternative-looking, proper premium-branded car.

And it’s offering them more than just visual allure and that coveted band of four chromed rings here. The Q2’s big sell is built not only on typical crossover utility and convenience but also keener performance and handling than you normally get from the type, as well as all the material quality and infotainment that Audi routinely offers further up the food chain.

Turbocharged petrol and diesel engines ranging from 114bhp to 187bhp, manual and dual-clutch automatic gearboxes and front and four-wheel drive are all on the Q2’s mechanical menu, while customers can also chose from ruggedised, bespoilered and duotone styling themes.

We chose a mid-level, mid-spec, front-driven, 1.4-litre turbo petrol model to provide an introduction to Audi’s new SUV chapter.

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