Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila

VERILY, the only cue to the Q2 is the “Q.”

Audi Q2: Lovable outlier
Main photo shows Audi Philippines head Benedicto T. Coyiuto, flanked by general sales manager Alice L. Baldemor (left) and sales manager/product specialist Paolo L. Brambilla, introducing the new Q2. Cockpit of the car decidedly driver-focused.

So, is it a crossover then? Maybe. Perhaps a hatchback like the A1? Possibly, but the Q2 is bigger. If you ask the people behind the Ingolstadt-based car maker Audi, it doesn’t really matter much what you think the Q2 is — so long as it catches your attention. And it will.

Unveiled globally in March 2016 at the Geneva Motor Show, the compact vehicle finally debuted in the Philippines last week. It was presented at the Audi Philippines showroom in Greenhills with the underlying theme “untaggable,” pertaining to its segment-defying ethos. Speaking to BusinessWorld, Audi Philippines sales manager and product specialist Paolo Brambilla said that the brand has a “proven history for daring vehicle launches… as it introduced [new] segments.”

The first of its kind, the Q2 takes its place as the smallest in Audi’s Q lineup. Measuring 1.51 meters tall, 1.79 meters wide, and 4.19 meters long, this Audi boasts short overhangs for a sportier gait. For comparison, the A1 stretches 3.97 meters, is 1.41 meters wide, and is 1.74 meters tall. Despite a short wheelbase and a high center of gravity, the Q2 exhibits “hardly any body roll when you go around corners, which is helped by the car’s wide track,” according to an Audi news release.

Audi Q2: Lovable outlier
Engine may be small but it still dishes out 116hp and 200Nm.

In a speech at the launch, Audi Philippines head Benedicto T. Coyiuto said: “We have always looked at the needs and wants of our consumers, and this car represents the ethos of the new generation — versatile, dynamic and sleek. But of course, this modern interpretation of a car is backed by over a century of innovation and progress known as our Vorsprung Durch Technik [Innovation Through Technology].”

This contemporary take and ethos certainly suffuses the Q2. Under the hood, it heralds a surprising 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection and turbo charging. Despite the unconventionally small displacement, the power plant puts out a healthy 116hp and 200Nm (the latter accessed from 2,000rpm). Mr. Brambilla assured that “Audi will not launch a car that people would consider underpowered… They’ve tested this so many times in Germany… and I invite people to test-drive it as well so it would change their perception. It actually has the feel of a regular two-liter engine.” Performance numbers should bear this out — acceleration from standstill to 100kph occurs in 10 ticks, onward to a top rate of 197kph.

The executive additionally expressed confidence that the twin virtues of power and miserly gas consumption (reportedly reaching a maximum of 25.5 kilometers per liter), should make the Q2 sell here.

Audi Q2: Lovable outlierInitially coming in two variants — Design and S line — the Q2 is equipped with standard accoutrements such as LED head lamps with range dynamic control. Fog lights are incorporated in the headlight array. Character lines extend from the front to the tail lights, a style Mr. Brambilla said is typical in Audis. The Design variant is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels; the S line gets 18-inchers. Dynamic turn signal lamps, previously only available in the brand’s flagship models such as the R8 and A8, make their appearance in the Q2.

Inside the car, the driver is greeted by a sporty three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel (annexed from the sporty Audi S3) with multi-function buttons and shift paddles. Other standards include ISOFIX child seat mounting; ambient lighting; automatic air-conditioning; an electro-mechanical parking brake; and air bags for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers (via curtain bag). The Q2 also boasts the Audi sound system, a mobile phone interface, Audi Connect, and a navigation system. Options include the vaunted Audi Virtual Cockpit — a driver-focused, fully digital instrument cluster.

Mr. Brambilla stated that the Q2 is meant to appeal primarily to “young professionals, young executives of top corporations,” and continued that “its price range is very attainable for company car plans.” He also sees it as a good choice for parents who may want to gift their children who have just graduated from college.

Audi Q2: Lovable outlier
Rear is easily identifiable as an Audi.

For her part, Audi Philippines general sales manager Alice L. Baldemor called the Q2 “the most road-savvy car model of the Q line, delivering superb performance, agile handling, and incomparable efficiency. It is fun to drive, spacious, and offers a range of personalization options.”

Whatever it is in its own little universe, the Audi Q2 appears to be all sorts of awesome.