Better by design – the new generation Audi SQ2
It is already adept at quickening the pulse, and now the 300PS Audi SQ2 is even more capable of catching the eye as it adopts the sharper new look and upgraded lighting technology already favouring the other members of the compact SUV range. Enhancement of the S model that first brought sub-five-second acceleration potential to the Audi Q family's singularly stylish lead-in SUV two years ago has also taken place beneath the skin. The cabin now benefits from additional equipment, improved infotainment and web-based Audi connect functionality and an expanded portfolio of driver assistance systems. When they become available in the UK from November 19, 2020 the latest generation SQ2 and even more striking SQ2 Black Edition models will also be joined by a newly inroduced SQ2 Vorsprung with a particularly exhaustive equipment list. Deliveries of all variants will begin here early in 2021.
"For the SQ2 we took the basic template set so successfully by high performance hatchbacks like our S3 Sportback and used it to create a version of our already capable compact SUV that has a great deal to offer fans of both formats," commented Director of Audi UK, Andrew Doyle. "The carefully considered design and technology updates it receives here as part of the improvement programme for the entire Q2 model line will only increase its appeal further still, as wlll the installation of the very appealing new Vorsprung model at the head of the range."
Impressive all-rounder in peak form: the 2.0 TFSI The 2.0-litre TFSI engine powering the new generation SQ2 draws its 300PS output from 1,984 cm3 of displacement, and makes peak torque of 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) available to the driver across a broad swathe of the rev range from 2,000 to 5,300 rpm. The turbocharged four-cylinder always responds keenly to throttle inputs, and its sound becomes fuller as speed increases thanks in part to the switchable flaps in the exhaust system. The key figures it delivers speak for themselves: 0 to 62mph in 4.9 seconds, a top speed of 155mph, the potential for up to 34.0 MPG and CO2 emissions from 188 g/km based on the official test cycle.
A number of key enablers support the delivery of thrills with relative thrift in the SQ2. The Audi valvelift system (AVS) switches the stroke of the outlet valves between two levels to continually optimise the flow of exhaust gas to the turbocharger and therefore enhance response, particularly in the lower reaches of the rev range; sophisticated thermal management ensures highly effective coolant flow; and integration of the exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head helps the engine to warm up quickly, ensuring that exhaust gas aftertreatment can be activated as early as possible. Needless to say, thanks to these and other measures the Audi SQ2 complies with the limits of the new Euro 6 AP emission standard.
Driving pleasure and driving safety: the seven-speed S tronic and quattro drive The 2.0 TFSI works in harmony with a seven-speed S tronic transmission in the top-tier Q2. Its lower gears feature closely spaced ratios while the seventh gear is long to maximise fuel economy. The super-fast dual-clutch transmission features D or even more performance-focused S modes, and also enables manual shifting via the lever or the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. If the standard Audi drive select system is in "efficiency" mode, the clutch disengages when coasting, allowing the compact performance SUV to freewheel.
Like every Audi model that has ever borne the evocative S badge the updated SQ2 is firmly affixed to the road by quattro all-wheel-drive, in this case based on an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch that distributes torque smoothly between the axles. In the event that the front wheels break traction, the clutch redirects output completely to the rear within a few milliseconds. It features here in latest generation form including many improvements to elements such as the bearings and oil supply which increase its efficiency. The entire clutch weighs just under one kilogram less than its equivalent in the previous model, due in part to the fact that the control unit is now integrated in the clutch housing.
During faster driving on more challenging roads, the electronically controlled quattro system can direct a proportion of the torque to the rear axle in the interest of agility, and enables precise turn-in during load reversal. Its highly intelligent reactions are also supported by wheel-selective torque control, which makes minor brake interventions at the wheels on the inside of a corner to maintain the best line through to the exit.
Dynamic character: suspension and steering The ideal operating conditions for quattro drive are provided by S sport suspension which lowers the body by 20 millimetres versus the Q2, and by standard progressive steering whose ratio becomes more direct as lock is applied. This makes the SQ2 even more agile when manoeuvring, in urban traffic and through the hairpins.
Audi drive select allows the driver to influence how the updated SQ2 responds to inputs. The dynamic handling system features "auto," comfort," "dynamic," "efficiency" and "individual" modes that can fine-tune the operating profile of the steering, the S tronic transmission, the engine and other systems. For driving a little further off the beaten track, the driver can also activate an off-road mode for the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) at the touch of a button.
Sizeable brakes with S-branded calipers and a diameter of 340 millimetres at the front axle and 310 millimetres at the rear guarantee reassuringly forceful stopping power. In the SQ2 they sit behind 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 tyres, and in the SQ2 Black Edition they are housed within 19-inch wheels with a contrasting grey diamond-cut finish and 235/40 section tyres
Strong character with high definition lines: the exterior design With its crisp, precisely defined corners and edges the SQ2 is a car full of character. The frontal styling is now even more striking, particularly in the area below the upgraded headlights. Its octagonal Singleframe is slightly lower, making the front section appear wider, and its insert now also references the polygon motif that characterises the entire car. The design of the large implied air intakes surrounded by wide frames in selenite silver is also more expressive, and narrow slits between the radiator grille and the bonnet pay homage to the design of the iconic Audi Sport quattro.
LED headlights are standard for SQ2 and SQ2 Black Edition models, while the SQ2 Vorsprung takes a step up to Matrix LED units. Each of their modules houses seven individual LEDs that deliver an intelligently controlled high beam light that always illuminates the road as brightly as possible without blinding other road users. Ten further light-emitting diodes installed behind rhomboid optical components generate the daytime running light, while seven LEDs generate the dynamic indicators that are incorporated in conjunction with Matrix LED. The SQ2 also features LED lights at the rear, which are also paired with dynamic rear indicators in Vorsprung versions. These top specification headlights and rear lights also offer dynamic light sequencing when the car is locked and unlocked.
In profile, the revised SQ2 highlights its membership of the S series through its aluminium-look mirror housings, while its pronounced sill inserts, roof edge spoiler and platinum grey C-pillar blades add to its distinctive visual appeal. At the rear, the pentagonal polygon treatment is now carried through into the bumper, within which is a diffuser insert framing two sets of twin exhaust tailpipes. Raising the standard powered tailgate reveals a minimum of 355 litres of luggage capacity, which can be expanded to 1,000 litres if the rear seat backrests are folded.
The latest generation SQ2 can be specified in a choice of seven colours, and its C-pillar is offered in two contrasting shades – the standard platinum grey or brilliant black – or alternatively in the chosen body colour. Upgrading to the SQ2 Black Edition adds gloss titanium black detailing for the the Singleframe surround, the strips on the air inlet grille and the rear diffuser, and a matt titanium black finish for the radiator grille, the underbody protection, the air inlet surrounds and the rear diffuser. The exhaust tailpipes are also trimmed in black chrome and the exterior mirror housings and C-pillar blades in solid Brilliant black.
Dark tones, upscale materials: the interior As is the case with all Audi S models, the interior of the SQ2 features high quality materials presented in a dark colour scheme. Front sport seats upholstered in a black leather and Alcantara mix in the SQ2 and SQ2 Black Edition or in full Fine Nappa leather in the SQ2 Vorsprung provide ample support and also now feature electrically adjustable lumbar support. The headlining is also finished in black. In the latest models the door panels are crafted from a new, more tactile soft-touch material, and the air vents and S tronic selector lever have a new look.
In terms of equipment, the already extensive core list for all versions expands for this latest generation to include a rear view camera to complement the rear parking sensors, which are now also joined by front sensors for enhanced perimeter monitoring. Protection of the SQ2, its occupants and other road users was already cutting edge in the class thanks to the inclusion as standard of Audi pre sense front, which uses radar to observe the area in front of the car in order to avoid accidents or reduce their severity.
On-board infotainment technology is also significantly enhanced across the board, not only by the addition of the fully digital virtual cockpit with its 12.3-inch binnacle display but also by MMI navigation plus with its 8.3-inch monitor controllable via rotary pushbutton or natural language voice control. As before, the Audi smartphone interface also features as standard to enable key apps from a handset to be displayed and controlled by the MMI system.
MMI navigation plus includes an LTE module for fast data transmission, and a three-year subscription to the web-based services of Audi connect, granting access to online traffic, weather and local fuel pricing information and Google Earth navigation mapping. It also now includes the new features Audi connect emergency call & service and Audi connect remote & control, which via the smartphone-based myAudi app allow the owner to lock the vehicle remotely or check the fuel fill level and range, for example.
Exceptionally inclusive: the new SQ2 Vorsprung As elsewhere in the Audi range, Vorsprung specification offers the ultimate pre-defined equipment package for the SQ2. Taking the Black Edition model as its basis, but marked out externally by its exclusive alloy wheels and Matrix LED lighting, the top tier SQ2 is further enhanced by features such as front seat heating for the upgraded Fine Nappa leather sport seats, a panoramic sunroof, Bang & Olufsen audio and the Audi phone box enabling wireless charging and connection of smartphones to the vehicle's aerial.
Its driver assistance capability also increases considerably thanks to the inclusion of systems such as park assist for automatic 'hands-free'steering into and out of parking spaces, Audi side assist blindspot monitoring, the cross traffic assist reversing aid and adaptive cruise assist, the latter making its SQ2 debut as part of the model update. Adaptive cruise assist enables the driver to let the system largely take over the tasks of accelerating, decelerating and steering within a lane with the help of its frontal camera and sophisticated sensors. In order to maintain automatic lateral guidance, the driver need only gently touch the steering wheel, which is part of the system, to prove that they are paying attention.