Audi – with the exception of its bonkers RS models – is by and large a fairly conservative, restrained car brand.
Every test car I’ve driven from them has been a variation on black/grey/silver. Until this one. Calling it yellow doesn’t really do it justice. It’s yellower than a flock of terrified canaries hiding in a vat of custard.
The retina-scarring Vegas Yellow is part of the Q2’s positioning as one of Audi’s youthful models. It doesn’t want to shrink into the background. It wants to be noticed, with its big gaping grille, silver C-pillar slash and big bling alloys.
It certainly stands out and divides opinion. I got to like the colour but the square looks never really won me over. Others told me they liked the looks but could never live with something that outshines the sun.
Audi Q2 2.0 TDI quattro 150PS S line S tronic
Price: £30,745 (£40,505 as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Top speed: 131mph
0-62mph: 8.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 129g/km
Either way, as well as being interesting to look at the Q2 wants to be interesting to drive – something not all Audis have managed in the past. The good news is that it succeeds. In fact, it rides and handles better than some of its bigger stablemates. It’s compliant and comfortable on bad roads but body control is impressive. Quick steering and strong grip from the quattro system mean you can drive enthusiastically when the mood takes you and there’s more feedback than in other Q models.
Sadly, the engine in our test car doesn’t live up to the chassis’ abilities. It’s the same 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel that does sterling service across the VW Group but in this application it seems surprisingly loud and rough – not what I’d expect from a premium model in this segment.
The interior, at least, is the usual infallible Audi. Controls and switches are laid out just as you’d expect and there’s a classy high-quality feel to everything you see and touch. Our test car’s largely grey/black interior was picked up by subtle yellow highlights that reflected its eye-searing exterior paint job. It’s not quite a VW T-Roc’s full-colour dash but it is a bit lighter and more “youthful” than the larger Q models.
The leather-wrapped sports seats fitted to the test model look great and feel supportive but, as with any car in this class, while front seat passengers have decent space the rear legroom is tight. There is, however, a surprising amount of width, meaning three adults could conceivably fit in the back.
In terms of feel, quality and driving the Audi is head and shoulders above the mainstream models in this segment. It has all the usual Audi qualities but it also has the usual Audi price tag. The Q2 starts at £21,000, putting it in the same price bracket as VW’s T-Roc, high-end Mazda CX-3s and the Mini Countryman. Our four-wheel-drive test model with its DSG auto gearbox, however, was £31,000 before options and north of £40k by the time you tot up the likes of adaptive suspension, a fancy stereo, power tailgate, virtual cockpit, head-up display and flat-bottomed steering wheel. Even features such as dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and auto lights and wipers are options whereas lower-priced rivals offer them as standard.
So it’s not cheap but it will definitely get you noticed.