The auto equivalent of forbidden fruit is a car that won’t come to your country, even though it would be perfect. Such is the case with Audi’s new Q2, which the German automaker showed off here at the Geneva Motor Show, but said won’t be coming to the US, even though it’s positioned well for a market that cannot get enough of these things.
When it debuts in Europe in the third quarter of this year, it will come with six separate powertrain options. Three are gas engines — measuring 1.0, 1.6 and 2.0 liters — and three are diesel — one 1.4-liter offering, and two 2.0-liter units. The 2.0-liter engines come standard with a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, but a six-speed manual is standard equipment on the rest. Considering the Q2 weighs a hair under 2,700 pounds, it doesn’t really need that much thrust to get going.
The design is traditional — you’re not going to confuse the Q2 with another brand’s offerings. In person, it appears less like a sport utility vehicle and more like a slightly taller hatchback, which is about par for the course with small utes like the Mazda CX-3 or the Honda HR-V.
Inside, it resembles an A3 in both design and execution. The layout is simple but it looks and feels premium, with a fair bit of soft-touch material. Where the interior truly succeeds, though, is in its technology. You’ll get two screens — one replacing the traditional gauge cluster, and one redundant unit atop the dashboard. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present and accounted for, and you can opt for a head-up display, a Wi-Fi hotspot or a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system for some extra coin.
Considering that active safety systems are playing larger roles in safety ratings, it makes sense that autonomous emergency braking is standard equipment on all Q2 variants. Safety addicts can get their fix with optional adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and a self-parking feature for both parallel and perpendicular spots.
The one thing that may not jive with US buyers is the lack of a true all-wheel-drive system. FWD is standard, and AWD is an option, but it’s a system that’s very front-biased, sending zero power to the rear wheels until the fronts begin to slip.
The Q2 is in the right segment, with the right equipment and the right design to pick up American buyers left and right. It’s a shame Audi doesn’t see it that way.