Ian Lamming discovers the light and the dark sides of Audi’s SQ2.
WE’VE all been there, I’m sure. It’s been a long day and you want to get home.
Then, on the single carriageway A road, you meet the dreaded convoy. Strangely, at its head is a car, albeit a small one. Then there’s a lorry, which shouldn’t even be on this road as it has a weight restriction, then there’s a camper, then two cars who are happy to trail behind.
I’m not, but the only chance of a safe overtake, along what is after all a decently long straight, is if I’m in the right vehicle…thankfully I am. Whump! I’m safely by and the 35mph convoy becomes someone else’s headache. Me? I’m off home.
And this is how. Rewind. Drift the Audi SQ2 out, take a long hard look, wait for the people in front and when nothing happens stand on the throttle. The 2.0 litre turbo-charged motor erupts spilling power like a volcano and spitting it forth like a pyroclastic cloud.
The seven-speed S-tronic automatic gearbox drops to the perfect ratio pointing the engine at the maximum power band and dialling all that oomph through the legendary Quattro all wheel drive. The car dips, squats and leaps like the proverbial scalded feline. All the time I’m watching the horizon – nothing – but equally important, the slow movers to make sure they don’t try to overtake into the SQ2’s path. Nothing moves out of alignment and the Audi is by so swiftly the thought probably hasn’t even occurred to them.
Once clear it is time to instantly lift off and the SQ2 becomes the docile, user friendly, practical SUV it has been all week.
That’s one of the surprising things about the Audi, along with its basic price. People may ask why transform the Q2 into a hot SUV. My answer is why not? It is a true Jekyll and Hyde. One minute it’s the family 4×4 with its peerless graphics on hi-tech dash and clocks, its gloriously classy interior, its usable nature and decent economy (I managed 36mpg).
But then there’s the improved looks, the bigger alloys, the Audi Quattro graphics which shout its potential.
And that’s the second strange thing, particularly as we all expect a premium surcharge for the Audi badge. Knock off the £10k of optional extra goodies fitted to the lovely, lovely test car and you still have a 300PS turbo-charged motor, tarmac-biting Quattro 4×4, sports rack and suspension, for £36K. Now many a humdrum SUV will knock you back that much and they don’t have the fun dark side of the Audi.
Drive it normally and it is just that, normal. If you are a fan of the Marvel emporium this would be Dr Banner, the mild-mannered brilliant scientist. But in times of need the Hulk lurks just out of sight. If there is an overtake to be smashed, a gradient to be battered and a sprint to be dashed then the SQ2 is your superhero.
And because it is the size of Banner rather than his green alter ego SQ2 is nimble down country lanes, around town and when you are fighting for a precious car park space.
To be honest, if you never drove SQ2 in anger you would wonder what all the fuss is about because there isn’t any. It’s only when you feel the frustration of those who impede your progress that the horns come out and when they do there’s only one thing to do, grab them and ride this beast into the sunset.
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo
Top speed: 155mph
Combined MPG: 33.2
Transmission: seven-speed S-tronic
CO2 g/km: 159
Price: £36,000.00 (£45,885.00 including options)