Ingolstadt’s smallest crossover is very much a ‘statement design’ – it just so happens that the statement isn’t very clear.
There’s two angles from which to approach the Audi Q2’s appearance: As the final straw of Wolfgang Egger’s ultimately lacklustre tenure as the brand’s chief designer, or as the first dawn of a new era of ‘assertive’ design from Ingolstadt.
The cabin is quite obviously ‘old school Audi’, in that most of the materials used are of above-average quality, with switchgear, displays et al laid out rather diligently. Or, in other words: There isn’t much wrong with the Q2’s interior.
The exterior, however, is terribly confusing. The graphics manage the rare feat of being bold and convoluted at once. The car’s overall stance aims to be far more imposing than the its dimensions would suggest – yet the meek track widths (incidentally, and most intriguingly, shared with a great many recent German ‘premium’ models) make this attempt appear rather futile.
Most striking about the Q2 (whose exterior was credited to Matthias Fink) is its graphics. Particular attention has been paid to lending the haunches above the wheels extremely defined ‘shoulders’ – a trait that has since been adopted by all Audi models styled under current head of design, Marc Lichte.
In the Q2’s case, an execution aimed at lending the sheetmetal an air of proper toughness results in particularly blunt forms. A hexagonal pressing underneath the DLO is by far the most outstanding (literally speaking) feature among the very many ornate creases, seams, swages found on the car. Incidentally, this ‘ostentatiously squared off haunches’ theme was explored by both Lada and Ssangyong before Ingolstadt’s designers developed it for the Q2. It’s due to appear soon, in even more extreme form, in the second-generation Peugeot 2008.
The Audi’s haphazard flair extends beyond these graphics though. The grille boasts not only a semi-octagonal outline, but also a rather busy pattern, studded with trapezium-shape accents. Hexagonal ‘mesh’ (most of which is just a pattern on plastic lids) can be seen as an extension of the theme, although any true coherence is lost amid the sheer mass of graphics and patterns.
A customisable cover on the c-pilar further reinforces the impression that the Q2 marks no less than a true break with a great many past virtues of Audi design. For the way it is embedded into the car suggests levels of carelessness unheard of in Ingolstadt before.
The use of shiny and frosted silver plastics only underlines that not merely Bauhaus virtues, but also Audi’s former leadership in terms of perceived quality have either been lost or deliberately cast aside in recent years.
The Audi Q2 was the first model to make this changing ethos abundantly clear. The more recent models – what with their overly aggressive appearance and levels of interior quality so low, even the mainstream press couldn’t help but notice – have since continued this process. Which makes the Q2 a statement car indeed.