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Audi pitches Q2 in Q3 territory

Form a Q: Audi is already holding 200 pre-orders for the new Q2 crossover ahead of its February arrival.

Similar positioning for Q2 and Q3 but Audi says the two can co-exist

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Audi logo22 Sep 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

AUDI Australia has announced a $41,100 plus on-road costs starting price for its baby Q2 crossover, positioning it just $1800 cheaper than the opening gambit for its slightly larger Q3 stablemate.

While the Q2 will not hit Australian shores until February next year, it is available to order now from Audi dealerships and the company says it is already holding about 200 pre-orders.

Locally, Audi will offer the Q2 with a choice of three powertrains but it has only revealed the base variant’s pricing for now.

The entry-level front-wheel-drive Q2 – Audi’s most affordable ‘Q’ model – will be powered by a 1.4-litre TFSI turbo-petrol engine with Cylinder-on-Demand technology, producing 110kW/250Nm and with a fuel economy figure of 6.2 litres per 100km.

Audi will also offer a 110kW/340Nm 2.0 TDI turbo-diesel quattro all-wheel drive version, while the top-spec 140kW/320Nm 2.0 TFSI quattro variant will be made available later next year.

All three Q2s are paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with no option for a manual.

The Q2 is expected to compete against other smaller premium crossovers such as Mini’s Countryman as well as the Q3’s traditional rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1 and the just launched Infiniti QX30.

Top-spec versions of sub-premium small SUVs such as Mazda’s CX-3, the Renault Captur, Peugeot’s 2008, the Citroen C4 Cactus, Skoda Yeti and Honda’s HR-V are also likely competitors.

Audi Australia general manager of corporate communications Anna Burgdorf acknowledged that the similar starting price meant there would be some cannibalisation of Q3 sales, but added the company was not concerned about what models the customers are buying, as long as they are Audis.

“I think the important thing for us is that we sustainably increase sales so whether that comes from Q2 or renewed interest in Q3 is not so much the critical issue,” she said. “The issue is that people are buying our cars over other brands.

“The Q3 has a very loyal following and a lot of what customers like about Q3 is that it is very stylish and it is very subtle and it has a very beautifully rounded finish, whereas the Q2 is much more angular and edgy so that is going to appeal to a different buyer.

“Of course there is going to be crossover, however, I think design is a major reason why people are attracted to a car in the first place. For us both cars have a place. Whether we lose some interest in Q3 because of Q2 is not a concern but what we would want to see is that the market grows as a result.”

Ms Burgdorf said that the company was expecting pre-launch interest in the Q2 and was hopeful of a larger order bank by the time it officially arrives next year.

“I think, particularly for a market like Australia where people love cars, they love an SUV, and the Q2 looks good so it is already attracting a lot of interest. We would expect quite a healthy order bank before we launch.”

While the styling and packaging of the Q2 seems to be aimed squarely at a younger, cashed-up buyer, Ms Burgdorf said Audi was not fussed about the age of the Q2 buyer.

“I think typically in Australia the luxury car buyer is older than perhaps other markets. Whether they are young or young at heart, we don’t mind who buys the car. You need to have new models, you need to have new interest in the market, because there is so much choice for customers and it is a big purchase.

“And what’s important for us is that cars that we build and design attract customers and I think the age of the customer, that’s not what’s critical. What’s critical is that we get new customers in to the brand and they want to then stay with us through the rest of the life cycle.”

The Q2 is built on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform that also underpins the VW Golf and Skoda Octavia among others and measures 4190mm long, 1790mm wide, 1510mm tall, with a 2600mm wheelbase, making it smaller in all areas than the Q3, although the wheelbase is only 3mm off its larger sibling.

Luggage space is 405 litres, rising to 1050 litres when the rear seats are folded, while the ground clearance is 145mm.

Full Australian pricing and specification will be revealed closer to the February launch, but the entry-level Q2 will include 17-inch alloy wheels, parking system plus with a reversing camera, Bluetooth and smartphone interface, MMI navigation, voice control and autonomous emergency braking.

Features such as further driver assist systems, a head-up display and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, as well as a number of optional equipment packages, such as an LED interior lighting package, will also be available.

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