Audi Q2 Set to Debut at Geneva

Oh, look. More dinky luxury crossovers. Audi will sell a million of them.

Audi Q2

The smallest premium German crossovers on the market right now are the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Now, Audi is going even smaller, introducing its brand-new Q2 at the Geneva Motor Show in March. This small CUV, which goes on sale outside the U.S. later this year, is based on the same platform as the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf and Tiguan. But the Q2 will be shorter than all of them; in fact, of all the VW Group products using the same platform, only the Audi TT is more curt.

The Q2 marks the arrival of chief designer Mark Lichte to Audi’s production cars. Lichte gave us the blindingly beautiful Prologue concept two years ago, and has been waiting to sweep out the conservative styling of his predecessor Wolfgang Egger. The design-speak around the Q2 has centered on boldness, “hard surfacing,” a deep cut along its flanks, and muscular hips. It was previewed by the Crosslane Coupe Concept in 2012, but it’s said that Lichte has reworked the styling since then.

Up to now, the star player in this space has been Mini, a brand Audi really began competing with in 2010 with the launch of its A1 city car. As the Germans did with the A1—to make a compelling case against the Cooper—the Q2 will come with a big bag of customization options inside and out, like a contrasting roof and C-pillars that can be decked out in aluminum or carbon fiber. “We tried to characterize the Q2 as an urban street feature, not just a car,” said one insider, who added that Q2 will rock “splashes of color” and “eclectic trims and materials.”

While in gestation the Q2 was called the Q1 because Fiat owned Q2 and the Italians said they would never sell it. Audi boss Rupert Stadler talked Fiat honcho Sergio Marchionne off that cliff, one of the rumors being that Fiat gave Audi use of the Q2 and Q4 monikers in exchange for the Bora name. Maserati once made a Bora, but when it couldn’t afford to renew the trademark, VW swiped it and used it on the European Jetta. Getting the Q2 name means Audi is free to introduce an even smaller crossover called Q1, which it plans to do. And it means Maserati could bring back a Bora, which we think would be an even better plan.