2021 Audi SQ2 Quattro – Car Review – Full of attitude

Back when the Q range started I was always a big fan of the Q7. It was an icon that everyone knew and it was a strong visual look for Audi for many years. I remember vividly wanting the V12 Q7 TDI, after seeing it on Top Gear. It was back in a different time, when power was everything, what a beast.

Then as the SUV markets started to shift gear and grow, the Q5 came along. From there the SUV market has exploded and Audi now has a full range of SUVs from the Q8, Q7, Q5, Q3 and the Q2. Each of these models have a few options to choose from, which also include S and RS variants. The most compact of all SUVs in their lineup is the Q2, which is also available as the SQ2. The S for Audi has always been seen as a premium luxury and sport spec level. As an owner of a V10 RS6 and previous owner of multiple Audis I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of this cheeky little number. 

The Range

There are two variants of the Q2 and one of the SQ2 in New Zealand. It starts with the Q2 35 TFSI Advanced, then it moves up to the Q2 40 TFSI quattro S line. That’s it for the standard Q2 range, with only one S model, the SQ2 Quattro. 

The price range is not as wide as you would expect, it was far less than I thought it was, that’s for sure. The Q2 35 TFSI Advanced starts at $56,900, from there it’s a jump to the Q2 40 TFSI quattro S line starting at $66,900. The final jump is a bit more, but still less than I would have thought, with the SQ2 Quattro starting at $80,990. That’s not bad considering the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 35 is $101,000. On looks and price alone I would pick the SQ2 over it.  

You may now be thinking, why the price difference? Is this Audi lacking in options? I will be honest and say that Audi is known for having a lot of options available for their cars, some of which should be standard at that price. But I am glad to say that the SQ2 comes with a raft of standard features, which include the following: electronic stabilisation control (ESC) with torque vectoring, driver assistance systems, Audi Pre-Sense front, parking aid front and rear, parking aid front and rear with park assist package, cruise control with speed limiter, cruise control – adaptive with automatic distance control with distance indicator, stop and go function package, Audi side assist, lane departure warning, rear view camera, S Sports suspension, LED headlights, electric tailgate, opening and closing, privacy glass, heated front seats, Audi Drive Select, ambient LED Interior lighting package, Audi smartphone interface including AUX-IN and 2 USB ports, Audi Virtual Cockpit package, comfort key – keyless entry and star and MMI navigation plus with MMI Touch

There are a wide range of options available to make your SQ2 individual. You got the choice of 8 different paint colours. 5 metallics, 1 pearl effect and 2 solid colours. Overall the colour range is a bit bland, with Tango Red and Turbo Blue being the stand out choices.

The list of optional extras are nowhere near the standard list. You have options for 6 different wheel styles, Audi SQ2 exterior package, Audi Exclusive black optics package, Matrix LED headlights and a panoramic glass roof 

For a full list of specs and options available for the Audi SQ2, jump on over to Audi New Zealand’s website

First Impressions

WOW, that’s a great blue! I can count the times on one hand that we have received a German review car that was not black, white or silver. It wouldn’t take many fingers either. This blue, which is called Turbo Blue – a great name – is stunning. It is loud when the car isn’t, but it works so well. I was really excited to see what this SUV was all about. 

This car couldn’t have come in a better colour, a true reflection of the fun and trendy character it has. 

After a quick chat to the agent at the handover, and off I went into the city on a depressingly rainy day. But it was hard to be down when you were driving a car this bright and cheery. 

The Inside

Inside the new SQ2 is a very clean, modern and uncluttered design. This helps to make the cabin feel larger and more open. It also felt very functional, like they had put a lot more thought into what should and shouldn’t be in the cabin space. 

In the front of the SQ2, it’s a spacious and comfortable cabin. The upright seating position means it’s easy to get in and out of, for those of all ages. The seats themselves were great, nothing fancy, but they did the job very well. Nice level of shape and comfort. Quick and easy to adjust to find that sweet spot.

The rear seats are a good size, with enough space in the back for taller people. I was able to fit, however it was a bit on the tight side. The seats are very well made, just like the front, which is always nice to see. The space for my daughter’s car seat was good too. She had enough room to climb in and out herself. The only issue we encountered was her kicking the seat in front. Not exactly a design fault, but it could be frustrating to have your child kicking the back of such a nice seat. Rear seat covers would be a must with small kids.

From the driver’s seat you have the virtual cockpit, which is essentially a fully digital driver’s information cluster. This display has several customizable options from small and large gauges to a wide selection of information in the middle of the screen. Both temperature and fuel are smaller LED gauges under this, which is nice as it keeps the main and important information front and centre. The SQ2 does not come with a heads-up display, and I didn’t even really miss it.

The central console follows through with that clean uncluttered design, which the engine start-stop button placed just above the gear selector. Under this were the MMI controls for the nav, phone, radio and media which were then controlled by the rotating push button control dial. Below this was the park brake and park brake buttons. At first I thought these buttons had been done away with, but they were placed so far down the central console that my elbow blocked my view of them. It’s not something that you use often if you have the auto-hand brake so placement was not an issue.

The MMI system was very easy to navigate, with a circular section of options that rotates around an image of the car. Shame the car on the display did not have the same body colour as the car I was in. There were also a nice amount of options, not too much, just right for this type of car. After a bit of fiddling around, anything that needed setting was set, and I suspect I wouldn’t need to change for some time after.

The boot was not huge, being 335 litres, 50 litres less than the normal Q2. Even though it’s a bit on the small side, it’s still an everyday usable space. The rear seats drop down for more space, and the parcel shelf can also be easily removed. 

I would say that my only takeaway note from the interior of the SQ2 was that in this particular vehicle the interior was very dark. No sunroof and dark headliner, carpets, seats and dashboard. It only left you with a little bit of aluminium trim to brighten up the cabin. Compared to the colour on the outside, I would either add the sunroof or look to add some colour to the cabin.

The Drive

This was where the SQ2 surprised me, as I didn’t expect much from it. I really thought the S in the SQ2 was going to be more of a trim spec that was aimed at getting people into a more expensive model. But it wasn’t like that at all. 

Once I was behind the wheel I noticed that the performance from the 2.0-litre was rather sporty, which gave the SQ2 a very quick-on-its-feet feeling. The 2.0-litre turbo engine creates a decent 221kW of power and a very reasonable 400Nm of torque. You wouldn’t also expect this SQ2 to be a sub-5 second car. That’s right, it’s able to do 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds. No wonder it felt nimble. That’s impressive for an SUV that costs just over $80k. 

During my week with the SQ2 I found it to be relatively economical. It’s not an eco warrior by any means, but even with a mixture of normal and spirited driving I only saw a combined fuel economy of 10.2 litres per 100km. That’s not bad considering Audi advertises it at 7.7. So with a bit more normal driving I am sure I would have achieved closer to the advised figure.

The sound from the engine was rather nice too, nothing too loud, but it had a bit of character. When you had a bit of fun with it, it was there, sometimes you even heard the turbo spool up and wind down, which was childish to say the least. But I loved it. 

I was impressed at how light and small the car felt, even though it isn’t small. Yes, it’s a compact SUV, but it’s still a big SUV when compared to small cars. The steering was electric and was very sharp. Light and accurate, which allowed you to gently and perfectly place the car where you needed it to be. This was great on the country back roads, where I was able to zip from corner to corner, sweeping around it with the Quattro all-wheel drive system, ready to power down the next straight. The brakes were very good too, not too aggressive, but enough control to give you a level of sporty performance with feedback. This was a fun car to drive. 

The SQ2 has several drive select modes, the usual sort of thing, Eco, Normal and Sport.  I found the normal mode to be ok, bit slower reactions to my requests, but it was very liveable. Eco was far too sluggish for my driving style, so I spent most of the review time in Normal or Sport. No I am not against eco driving, it’s just not something I felt needed to be explored further on a S model Audi SUV. If you’re trying to constantly drive economically, there are far better options out there in my opinion.

The Competition

It’s been a while since I have seen Audi at the bottom of this list, they normally hold a firm position at the top of just below it. This however is a good thing, as it means that Audi are stepping up their game and bringing high-quality products with good value when compared to the competition.

Why would you spend $13k or $21k more for a different badge; is it worth it?

Brand / ModelEnginePower kW/Nm0-100km secSeatsFuel L/100kmBoot Capacity LitresPrice Highest to Lowest
Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 352.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged225/4005.158.0435$101,200
BMW X2 M35i2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged225/4505.657.4470$93,900
Audi SQ22.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged221/4004.957.7335$80,900

PROS

  • Fun modern styling
  • Sporty and nimble
  • Smooth and comfy ride
  • Great build quality
  • Beautiful handling, quattro
  • Upmarket luxury interior
  • Tech level and safety features

CONS

  • Dash screen, integration
  • Smaller boot

2021 Audi SQ2

Vehicle TypePerformance Compact SUV
Starting Price$80,900
Price as Tested$80,900
Engine2.0-litre petrol TFSI inline 4
Power, Torque
kW/Nm
221/400
Transmission7-Speed S Tronic
Spare WheelSpace saver
Kerb Weight, Kg1,581
Length x Width x Height, mm4210 x 1802 x 1524
Cargo Capacity, litres335
Fuel tank capacity, litres55 
Fuel Economy, L/100kmAdvertised Spec – Combined – 7.7
Real-World Test – Combined – 10.2
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Towing Capacity Kg, unbraked/braked750 /1400
Turning circle, metres11.1
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
Warranty5 years or 150,000km warranty
ANCAP Safety Ratings5 Star
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Economy
6
Interior
8
Performance
8
Safety
9
Styling
9
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It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.

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