The SQ2 is at once subtle but unmistakeable, and so adopts the tone set by so many Audi performance derivatives. Sports suspension shaves 20mm from the ride height of the standard Audi Q2, and the grille and hefty air intakes in the front bumper not only feature unique vanes but are also optionally ringed by broad, black accents.

Follow the car’s bevelled edges back and you’ll find the rear adorned with Audi no less than four exhaust tips in the style of the S3. On a compact SUV they make quite a statement, but this is the image SQ2 buyers will want. Moreover, it’s the S3 hot hatch with which this new crossover shares a significant amount of hardware.

Quad exhaust pipes are among the few exterior features that hint at the SQ2’s potency. Otherwise, the car remains a low-key thing to look at. Who doesn’t like a good sleeper, though?

The Volkswagen Group’s excellent EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol is once again reprised, with figures that every road tester now knows by heart: 296bhp and 295lb ft, with the latter generated at only 2000rpm and holding on until 5200rpm.

Despite such a broad powerband, the SQ2 gets Audi’s S tronic dualclutch transmission, with the brand’s typically small paddle-shifters affixed to the back of the wheel.

Quattro four-wheel drive is standard, with torque split between the axles by a hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch, though Audi would have us believe this is no flat-footed calibration. When the front tyres lose grip, the SQ2 is said to have the ability to channel the entirety of its available torque to the rear axle, but even in less committed driving, torque flows rearwards when meaningful steering input is detected, and in the interests of agility there is also brake-based torque vectoring.

Back to top

Dimensionally, the steel-bodied SQ2 is neither as long nor as tall as its Cupra Ateca cousin (both use the VW Group’s MQB platform). In the interests of handling and body control, Audi has sought to marshal the car’s mass with a passive spring-and-damper set-up rather than the adaptive alternative available on the standard Q2 and many rivals besides.