Audi SQ2: The devil made me do it

2021 Audi SQ2 Quattro 13

What is it?

If Audi’s R8 supercar is a beast, then by the same token its small SQ2 sports utility vehicle surely deserves the title little devil.

The figures speak for themselves. The R8 serves up 449kW and 560Nm, launching from rest to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds.

In comparison, SQ2 quattro is good for 221kW and 400Nm — and is a tad over a second slower.

2021 Audi SQ2 Quattro 14

What’s it cost?

Unremarkably, R8 is $395,000. SQ2 is $65,300 plus on-roads — but who’s counting?

With a worldwide shift to SUVs, Audi has taken the opportunity to launch a refreshed version of the performance compact in Australia.

Apart from the R8, Audis with an ‘S’ designation generally offer something special and SQ2 is no exception, as the figures illustrate.

It’s all down to a 2.0-litre turbocharged TFSI engine, mated with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, along with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive, plus sport suspension and progressive steering — to ensure performance is up to sporting scratch for a compact SUV.

Up front SQ2 eschews the modern-day sports utility vehicle matt black radiator grille for a highly decorative pattern of shiny metallic swirls and straight lines, flanked by Matrix LED headlights, dynamic indicators and large geometric air intakes.

Side on, the car maintains SUV status quo with square proportions from bonnet to boot, the only concession to crossover-coupe styling  — a shallow dip of the roof approaching the rear roof pillar.

Nothing can compare with the bling of the front, except maybe the red brake calipers lurking behind five double-spoke, V-style 19-inch alloys and quad chrome-tipped exhaust tips poking from under the rear bumper.

The cabin is straight out of the Audi performance car playbook.

Front occupants are firmly welcomed by heated sport seats in Nappa leather with ‘S’ embossed black upholstery.

The ‘S’ logo is repeated on the three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifts and multi-function buttons.

The 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit with S-specific display has a configurable information display, while an 8.3-inch dash-mounted screen features MMI navigation plus, smartphone interface for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB digital radio and Audi Drive Select info.

Occupants are entertained via a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, featuring 14 hi-fi speakers that outputs a total of 705 watts.

Wireless phone charging is a convenient fixture.

In terms of safety, SQ2 features the Audi Pre-Sense basic system, with adaptive cruise control with stop/go, active lane assist and side assist (blind spot alert).

Also included are Pre-Sense City, with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection.

Also on hand is Parking System Plus, front and rear, with rear view camera and park assist.

2021 Audi SQ2 Quattro 6

What’s it go like?

At the heart of the SQ2 performance is the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor, capable of delivering peak power of 221kW at 5300 rpm, with 400Nm of torque on tap between 2000 and 5200 revs.

Over a longish-term, taking on conditions ranging from shuffling through heavy city traffic to motorway cruising and lung-busting acceleration on country twists and turns, the engine coped well, growling only when pushed.

Long-term fuel consumption worked out at around 10.0L/100km compared with a claim of 7.7L.

Audi Drive Select gives the driver a chance to match the car with his moods at the flick of a switch on the dashboard and its connection to a centre-console knob.

Needless to say, Efficient mode dumbed down acceleration, while softening the ride to almost soporific standards.

Comfort and Automatic dialled up power, with stiffer ride and handling, while Dynamic sharpened the lot enough for a teeth-rattling ride on even slightly irregular surfaces.

Individual mode defied deeper investigation due to lack of time with the car and the absence of a track with a clear run.

Absence of a head-up display was noted.

Leg room in the rear could be cramped with a tall driver in front.

The boxy exterior makes for ample headroom in the cabin.

Boot space is on the slim side (355 litres, with the floor at its lowest), but there’s added convenience loading and unloading with a power tailgate, whose opening can be programed for height to prevent tall owners bumping themselves.

2021 Audi SQ2 Quattro 4

What we like?

  • Looks
  • Performance
  • The badge

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What we don’t like?

  • Lack of rear legroom
  • Absence of head-up display
  • Leg room in the rear could be cramped
  • Boot space on the slim side
  • Price could be a stumbling block

2021 Audi SQ2 Quattro 7

The bottom line?

Which motoring enthusiast would not be tempted by Audi’s devilish little compact SQ2?

The 60K-plus price tag may be a stumbling block for some, but you do get a lot of kit for the price.

These days though a three-year warranty seems a bit stingy.

2021 Audi SQ2 Quattro 11

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Audi SQ2 2.0 TFSI Quattro, priced from $65,300
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 8/10
  • Safety - 6/10
  • Thirst - 5/10
  • Practicality - 6/10
  • Comfort - 5/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 6/10