Audi Q2 targets affluent downsizers

Audi hopes the Q2 will appeal to buyers of larger cars from Mercedes-Benz and BMW who are looking to downsize. The Q2 is the first subcompact SUV/crossover from a German luxury brand. Audi believes the smallest member of its Q family will attract buyers of luxury compact cars, such as the Mercedes GLA crossover or BMW 1-series hatchback, who want a practical vehicle for inner cities where parking is scarce. The Q2 is unlikely to appeal to buyers of volume small SUVs/crossovers such as the Renault Captur or Fiat 500X, executives believe, which is why the car is priced aggressively high. By offering a mix of edgy styling, smaller dimensions and agile handling, along with infotainment options typically found in larger cars, Audi is targeting buyers who need a small car for convenience or lifestyle reasons, but don't want to sacrifice comfort. The Q2 will be sold in Europe and China but not in the U.S. The Q2 also will not take sales from other Audi models because its angular appearance is too provocative for risk-averse Q3 customers who prefer soft, elegant curves. "It's not a slender kind of athlete, rather a muscle-packed American football player," said the Q2’s exterior designer, Matthias Fink. Executives say the car will not be a rival to the Mini Countryman because Mini lovers are loyal to their brand and are not looking for the added space and practicality of an SUV. At 4190mm long, the Q2 has the shortest wheelbase and overhangs of any vehicle underpinned by Audi parent Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture. Fast facts Target buyers: Sporty 25- to 35-year-old city dwellers. Connectivity: Audi's virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch screen, head-up display and wireless charging are available. Technology: Progressive steering is standard. It's designed so that the steering ratio becomes increasingly direct when turning, helping to give the car a go-kart like feeling and a very tight turning radius. What's good: Connectivity, infotainment and fuel economy. What's bad: The new grille and the removable blades on the C-pillar take some getting used to. Launch date: November (Europe) Where built: Ingolstadt, Germany Base price: 22,900 euros (Germany) Lowest CO2 emissions: 114g/km (1.6 diesel)

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