Adding power and speed to an already good looking crossover

Placed just under the Q3 as far as badges go, the Q2 is more than just a shrunken Q3. Not only it sports unique fascias, it also has a coupe-style roof, setting it apart from its siblings and placing it in the same market as the BMW X2. After almost two years on the market, the regular crossover was joined by the performance-oriented SQ2 model, launched at the 2018 Paris Motor Show.

Sportier on the outside and powered by a beefed-up, turbocharged engine, the SQ2 raises above the competition in terms of looks and power. It basically offers you the sportiest and most potent option in this niche, at least until BMW rolls out the X2 M sometime in the future. Does it have enough power and extra features to stand out? Let’s find out in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Audi SQ2.

Exterior

  • Black grille with vertical bars
  • Sportier front bumper
  • New side trim
  • New wheels
  • Lower ride height
  • Longer tailgate spoiler
  • Redesigned diffuser
  • Quad exhaust pipe layout
  • Online one standard color
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The S package adds a bunch of familiar visual upgrades to the small crossover. However, while models that also have RS version boast a rather mild appearance in S trim, the SQ2 has a rather aggressive look.

It all begins up front, where the stylish grille with silver frame and inserts was replaced by a black element with eight vertical bars.

This upgrade gives the front end a sportier, more imposing look. Audi revised the bumper too. While the lower center grille carries over with the honeycomb-style mesh, the side vents now feature actual grilles and the horizontal bars are gone.

The silver trim around the vents was replaced with black inserts. However, Audi added an aluminum-look bar that stretches the entire width of the fascia for a cool contrast with the blacked-out elements.

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Moving onto the sides, we can see new trim strips on the lower doors. These elements are strongly contoured and make up for the lack of sportier side skirts. The mirrors are all black on this model, versus the body-colored top and black bottom of the standard model. Audi offers a wide range of wheels that includes ten designs and sizes, including from the Sport division. The 18-inch alloy wheels come standard, but you can get 19-inch rollers for an extra fee.

Audi claims the SQ2 features a longer tailgate spoiler around back. This isn’t very visible at first glance, but it definitely helps with aerodynamics. Everything else is identical to the standard model save for the "SQ2" badge and the revised lower apron.

The latter makes a big difference though, as it's shaped to look like a two-piece diffuser and incorporates a pair of exhaust pipes on each side.

It’s also flanked by small vents for a sportier look.

As far as colors go, Ibis White is the only standard color. Pay a little extra and you can pick between Vegas Yellow, Ara Blue, Daytona Grey, Floret Silver, Glacier White, Coral Orange, Mythos Black, Quantum Grey and Tango Red.

Interior

  • Brushed aluminum trim
  • Stainless steel pedals
  • "S" logos
  • White cluster needles
  • Leather & fabric seats
  • Optional Nappa leather
  • Standard sports seats
  • Same luggage room as Q2
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The SQ2’s cabin is obviously heavily based on the standard model, so it features the same minimalistic dashboard with four round air vents, a pop-up infotainment screen, and the gauge cluster hood. A satin chrome accent separates the upper and lower dash sections, while including a few knobs and switches.

The center console has room for two drinks just ahead of the shifter, which in turn is flanked by the Start/Stop button and radio volume knob. The Audi’s MMI controls below, including two toggle switches and a Menu and Back button, round up the very few hard keys found in this area. Like in any other modern vehicle, all other inputs are done with the rotary control knob.

Somewhat disappointing is the fact that the Audi Virtual Cockpit is optional on the SQ2.

Part of the Technology Pack, it includes the 12.3-inch screen similar to the one seen in the TT and R8 and extra buttons on the steering wheel. The configurable display offers two main views –- one with the speedometer and tachometer shown in the center or the two gauges off to the sides with the entertainment or maps screens displayed in the middle. The optional head-up display shows vital information on the windscreen.

So how can you tell the SQ2 apart from the regular Q2? For starters, the dashboard has decorative inlays made from matte brushed aluminum. The headliners and pillars are also finished in black as standard. The pedals and the footrest are made of stainless steel for a sportier look, while the illuminated door sill trims at the front sport "S" logos. The instrument dials are grey and the needles white, while the MMI display in the instrument cluster shows an S-specific start screen when the ignition is switched on.

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Don’t expect full leather seats as standard though. While it’s better equipped then the base Q2, the SQ2 comes with leather and fabric as standard. If you want the leather and Alcantara combo or a full Nappa leather interior you need to pay extra. The good news is that Audi also offers a red and black Nappa combo in addition to the standard and boring black. The optional accent stripes and contrast stitching add a splash of color two. As for decorative inlays, you can pick between anodized red and an illuminated version with the ten-color ambient package. You can also add red A/C vents and shift paddles to the flat-bottom steering wheel.

The latter comes standard, as do the sports seats, front centre armrest, automatic air conditioning, and the driver information system with colour display. Extra tech you can option up includes the MMI Navigation Plus with the Audi Connect package and a Bang & Olufsen sound system with a 705-watt amplifier and 14 speakers.

The sportier interior doesn’t ruin the crossover’s practicality.

Just like the Q2, the SQ2 swallows up to 355 liters (12.5 cubic feet) of luggage in the trunk with the rear seats up.

Fold the rear seats flat and total capacity increases to an impressive 1,000 liters (35.3 cubic feet).

Drivetrain

  • Turbo 2.0-liter engine
  • 300 horsepower
  • 295 pound-feet
  • 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds
  • Top speed at 155 mph
  • S tronic automatic
  • Standard Quattro AWD
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As it is the case for S-badged Audis, the SQ2 sits above the regular model in terms of performance.

Power comes from a beefed-up version of the company's familiar 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which cranks out 300 turbocharged horses and 295 pound-feet of twist.

That’s an extra 110 horsepower compared to the most potent gasoline version of the Q2.

The extra oomph comes from the many internals that have been upgraded, but the unit also features adjustable intake and exhaust camshafts for optimized fill and gas exchange, as well as a valvelift system that adjusts valves in two stages to reduce flushing losses in the combustion chamber.

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Naturally, the SQ2 is the quickest of the pack, needing only 4.8 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start. Top speed is limited, as usual, to 155 mph.

Helping the SQ2 get there is a seven-speed S Tronic gearbox with two clutches and a quattro all-wheel-drive system. The latter distributes torque continuously between the axles and it can transfer up to 100 percent of the torque to the rear wheels within just a few milliseconds. Audi modified the suspension too, lowering it by 20 mm (0.8 inches). The progressive steering system has an S-specific setup in which the rack is geared so that the boost ratio changes the further the wheel is turned. This improves agility in urban traffic and in tight bends.

Stopping power comes from beefed-up brakes that 340 mm (13.4 inches) in diameter up front and 310 mm (12.2 inches) to the rear. Besides being larger, they’re also more durable.

Safety

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Just like its standard counterpart, the SQ2 comes loaded with active and passive safety systems. Audi’s pre sense front system recognizes potential hazards or pedestrians in the road and warns the driver to slow down or stop the vehicle. If necessary, the system will automatically brake, and if needed, it will bring the crossover to a full stop.

Optionally, the Stop & Go cruise control with traffic jam assist provides assistance in heavy traffic situations.

Traffic jam assist works by using the front camera and parking sensors to take over steering duties in slow-moving traffic at speeds below 41 mph.

Audi’s side assist monitors data from the radar to change lanes, while active lane assist uses a video camera to help the driver maintain his lane. The camera also recognizes traffic signs, displaying the speed limit, no passing zone warnings, and other informational signs on the digital gauge cluster. There’s also rear cross traffic assist and a parking assist function that automatically maneuvers into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces.

Prices

Pricing information for the SQ2 is not available as of this writing. However, given that the Q2 retails from £21,665 and that S models usually carry a 30-percent premium, the SQ2 should start from around £28,200. In Germany, the crossover will probably fetch around €35,000 before options.

Since Audi doesn’t sell the Q2 in the U.S., it’s safe to say that the SQ2 won’t make it on this side of the pond either.

Competition

BMW X2 M

2020 BMW X2 M
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BMW X2 M - rendering by http://xtomi.blogspot.com

With the standard Q2 going up against the recently debuted X2, the SQ2 will have its sights set on the X2 M. It hasn’t exactly been confirmed yet, but BMW would be crazy not to give the X2 the proper M treatment after all the love the standard model has received. The X2 M will carry the standard M treatment which will include more aggressive front and rear fascias as well as an M sport interior with a flat bottom steering wheel and sport seats. It’s expected to carry an uptuned version of BMW’s 2.0-liter engine. It delivers 248 ponies in the 3 Series, but it could pump out somewhere in the neighbor hood of 320 to 350 horsepower, and it kind of has to when you consider the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 pumps out 355 horsepower. BMW could throw in a detuned version of the 365-horsepower six-cylinder form the M2 but I wouldn’t hold my breath for that one.

Read our speculative review of the 2020 BMW X2 M.

Mercedes-AMG GLA45

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior
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The Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 might be just a hair smaller and technically competes with the BMW X1, but it’s right in line with what the SQ2 is offering. It’s got the SUV look, AMG-specific exterior enhancements and your typical AMG interior with sports seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a digital instrument cluster. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter four-banger that’s good for an astounding 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque – enough to get it up to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.

Read our full review of the Mercedes-AMG GLA45.

Conclusion

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It’s a bit surprising that it took Audi two years to offer an S version of the Q2, but I guess it’s better late than never. The SQ2 is a very important step forward for Audi, which just gave itself a big advantage in this tight niche. Since BMW has yet to develop an M version of the X2, the SQ2 will attract all customers looking for a performance-oriented crossover from the subcompact category. Sure, things could change once the X2 M hits dealerships, but until that happens Audi will reign supreme. But as great as the SQ2 may be in terms of looks and performance, it comes with two drawbacks. Its interior looks a bit dated compared to other Audi vehicles and it’s not sold in the United States.

  • Leave it
    • Needs better looking side skirts
    • Not available in the U.S.
    • Interior needs an upgrade

References

2017 Audi Q2 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q2.

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Read more Audi news.

Spy Shots

May 29, 2018 – Audi SQ2 Putting in Some Final Testing

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June 15, 2016 - Audi SQ2 caught testing without camouflage

2019 Audi SQ2 Exterior Spyshots
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2019 Audi SQ2 Exterior Spyshots
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2019 Audi SQ2 Exterior Spyshots
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Striking design meets driving exhilaration: Audi is presenting the SQ2 for the first time during the 2018 Paris Motor Show. The new top model in the Q2 family is a titan in the compact SUV segment, with a 300PS output channelled through S sports suspension and quattro all-wheel-drive which enables zero to 62mph acceleration in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. The Audi SQ2 is also at the forefront in the class where infotainment and assistance systems are concerned.

0 – 62mph in 4.8 seconds: the engine
The heart of any Audi S model is the engine, and the 2.0 TFSI in the SQ2 is in peak condition. Developed by Audi engineers and built in Győr, it delivers 300PS and a constant 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of torque between 2,000 and 5,200 rpm. As a result it can dispatch the sprint from 0 to 62mph in 4.8 seconds, and power on to a governed 155mph top speed.

The four-cylinder, 1,984 cc unit responds instantly up to the redline at 6,500 rpm. In the dynamic mode offered by the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, it responds even more directly, with brief double de-clutching accompanying the gear changes by the S tronic and a particularly sonorous engine note. The engine weighs only around 150 kilograms, benefiting not only the all-up weight of the Audi SQ2, but also the axle load distribution.

Numerous high-tech features hone the profile of the powerful four-cylinder. The intake and exhaust camshafts are adjustable to optimise fill and gas exchange. On the exhaust side, the Audi valvelift system (AVS) adjusts valve lift in two stages based on demand. This reduces flushing losses in the combustion chamber and ensures optimal flow of exhaust gas to the turbocharger, particularly in the low rpm range. The advantages of this are agile engine response and a further increase of torque. Controlled by a fast and precise electric overflow valve, the turbocharger develops its maximum boost of 1.4 bar (relative) very dynamically. This engine management system enhances efficiency and reduces fuel consumption during operation under part load.

Efficiency is also a major focal point with the 2.0 TFSI. Two electrically powered rotary valves consolidated into a module regulate the coolant flows. Another major component of the thermal management system is the exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head. It helps the engine to warm up quickly.

Targeted measures implemented in many components increase strength and reduce internal friction. The regulated oil pump requires little drive energy. Under part load, the engine management system deactivates FSI direct fuel injection. Instead, fuel is injected indirectly into the intake manifold, which reduces particle emissions. A particle filter also cleans the exhaust gas.

Traction, stability and handling: the power transmission
A seven-speed S tronic with a wide ratio of 8.7 between the first and last gears transfers the power of the 2.0 TFSI. The driver can operate the lightning-fast dual-clutch transmission in the automatic modes D or S, or shift ‘manually’. If the Audi drive select dynamic handling system is in “efficiency” mode, the clutch disengages when coasting, allowing the compact sport SUV to freewheel. With start-stop active, the engine shuts off when speed drops to 4mph or below.

The seven-speed S tronic’s two clutches are in an oil bath. A small, mechanically driven gear pump supplies them with oil. At elevated demand, a second, electrically driven pump is activated. This efficient oil supply and the low friction of the individual components result in high efficiency.

As with every Audi S model, quattro all-wheel drive is standard in the SQ2. It combines high traction with compelling handling. Its central element is a hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch. It distributes torque continuously between the axles. If the front wheels lose grip, the multi-plate clutch can transfer up to 100 percent of the force to the rear within just a few milliseconds.

The electronic controller supporting the quattro system provides for the ultimate in driving enjoyment and safety. During sporty driving, it can direct torque to the rear axle as soon as the driver turns the wheel. Under acceleration, the torque literally pushes the fast SUV into the bend. The quattro management system enables precise turn-in during load reversal, and provides maximum control and reliability when drifting on a low-friction road surface. During fast driving, the quattro drive works closely together with the wheel-selective torque control, which smooths out the handling with tiny braking interventions at the inner wheels under reduced load.

20 millimetres lower: the S sport suspension
With a more dynamic setup than the system on which it is based, the S sports suspension lowers the body by 20 millimetres. The power assistance of the standard progressive steering has an S-specific characteristic. Its rack is specially geared so that the boost ratio changes the further the wheel is turned – the greater the steering angle, the more direct the ratio. This improves agility when manoeuvring, in urban traffic and in tight bends.

Typical S model: the exterior design
The ‘standard’ Audi Q2 is already an SUV with a very distinctive character. The precise body line, the polygonal indentation on the flanks and the blade on the C-pillar give it an unmistakable appearance. Audi has further honed the exterior design for the S model. The front end alone indicates the special position it occupies. Eight upright double bars divide the large, octagonal Singleframe grille. A front splitter joins the outermost edges of the two dominating air inlets to underscore the full width of the brawny SQ2 front end. The standard LED headlights and LED rear lights with dynamic indicators radiate a characteristic, arrow-shaped light signature

Striking details also set accents on the flanks and at the rear. The trim strips in the lower region of the doors are strongly contoured; the exterior mirror housings sport an aluminium-look finish. A long roof edge spoiler provides for sufficient downforce; the diffuser insert houses four exhaust tailpipes. The exterior colour palette includes the standard ibis white and the optional colours Vegas yellow, ara blue, Daytona grey, floret silver, glacier white, coral orange, mythos black, quantum grey and tango red.

With a drag coefficient of 0.34, the Audi SQ2 glides easily through the wind. The noise level on-board remains low thanks to the vibration-optimised body and Audi’s high level of competence in aeroacoustics. A structure of hot-shaped steels, which combine extreme strength with low weight, forms the strong backbone of the passenger cell and is responsible for the high rigidity of the entire body.

The standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system lets the driver choose between the profiles auto, comfort, dynamic, efficiency and individual. It uses these profiles to manage the character of the steering, the seven-speed S tronic and additional systems. A button allows the driver to set the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) to off-road mode or turn it off entirely. Hold assist is available as an option.

The range of wheels available from Audi and Audi Sport offers a choice of ten designs and sizes. 18-inch alloy wheels with size 235/45 tyres are standard; 19-inch wheels with size 235/40 tyres will be available as an option The large brakes measure 340 millimetres in diameter up front and 310 millimetres in the rear. They are particularly durable, and their calipers – optionally painted red rather than black – have S badges.

Dynamic accents: the interior
The compact Audi SQ2 has an exterior length of 4,210 millimetres and a wheelbase of 2,594 millimetres, allowing for a spacious interior. The luggage compartment has a volume of 355 to 1,000 litres depending on the position of the two or three-way split rear backrests. Standard equipment includes sport seats, a front centre armrest, automatic air conditioning, a sport multifunction steering wheel – optionally with paddles for the S tronic – and the driver information system with colour display.

The optional Audi virtual cockpit which forms part of the Technology Pack replaces the driver information system. The driver controls the fully digital instrument cluster via buttons on the steering wheel. The 12.3-inch display offers three different views, including a screen that places the rev counter front and centre. The most important information is also visible in a head-up display, another option.

The interior design takes up the progressive, taut lines of the exterior and uses colours and materials to set dynamic accents. The headlining, pillars and seat upholstery are finished in black as standard. The decorative inlay on the instrument panel is matt brushed aluminium. The pedal caps and the footrest are made of stainless steel; the illuminated door sill trims up front sport S logos. The instrument dials are grey and the needles white. The MMI monitor and the display in the instrument cluster or Audi virtual cockpit show S-specific start screens when the ignition is switched on.

The seats of the Audi SQ2 are trimmed in a combination of leather and fabric as standard. A leather/Alcantara mix or fine Nappa leather will be optionally available. Accent stripes, contrasting stitching in red and grey, plus embossed S logos round out the range. In addition to black, the fine Nappa leather upholstery is available in two colours (black with red) and with a rhombus pattern. There are two options for the decorative inlay: a red anodised paint finish and the illuminated version “Format light graphics” (with the ten-colour ambient lighting package). Other options include air vents with red interior rings and the flat-bottomed steering wheel with shift paddles.

Top connectivity: MMI navigation plus and Audi connect
As in the Audi Q2, the infotainment range in the SQ2 covers a broad matrix. At the top is the MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. Its menus are clearly structured, and the rotary pushbutton on the centre tunnel console includes a touchpad that also enables multi-finger scrolling and zooming. Voice control and MMI search are also fast and reliable. Just a few letters or words are usually enough to achieve the desired result. The MMI navigation plus has an 8.3-inch display; the data transmission module supports the fast LTE wireless standard and includes a Wi-Fi hotspot for the passengers’ mobile devices.

MMI navigation plus also includes the Audi connect package (optional with MMI navigation). A SIM card permanently installed in the car, the Audi connect SIM, brings numerous online services on board, including traffic information online, navigation with Google Earth, travel and parking information and access to Twitter and email. The free myAudi app connects the owner’s smartphone with the car. It enables such functions as online media streaming and transferring the calendar to the MMI.

The infotainment range in the Audi SQ2 includes such components as the Audi smartphone interface. It integrates iOS and Android mobile phones with their Apple CarPlay and Android Auto environments into the MMI system. The Bang & Olufsen Sound System features a 705 Watt amplifier driving 14 speakers. Anodised aluminium clasps frame the woofers. LED light guides radiate white light.

Technologies from the full-size class: the driver assistance systems
The driver assistance systems for the Audi SQ2 come from the full-size class. Audi pre sense front is standard and uses radar to recognise hazardous situations that can occur with crossing pedestrians or other vehicles in front of the car. The system warns the driver acoustically and visually, and initiates emergency braking if necessary. This can help to avoid or reduce the severity of a collision.

Other assistance technology highlights include adaptive cruise control with stop & go function and the traffic jam assist, which in addition to the radar sensor also uses the front camera. At speeds up to 40mph on well-developed roads, it can assist with steering, accelerating and braking.

Audi active lane assist helps the driver to stay in the driving lane. The optional park assist can automatically steer the compact sport SUV into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces. Cross traffic assist rear comes into play when the driver wants to reverse out of a perpendicular parking spot. Another assist function is Audi side assist. In conjunction with the radar sensor, it displays a visual warning in the respective exterior mirror to alert the driver of a potential hazard when changing lanes.

The new Audi SQ2 is being presented for the first time during the 2018 Paris Motor Show at the beginning of October. It will become available to order in the UK in late 2018 ahead of first UK deliveries in early 2019.

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