What is it?

As the entry point to an expansive line-up that now includes nine different models, the Q2 is something of a gateway drug to the Audi SUV range. Many customers are completely new to the brand, so keeping it relevant in such a competitive part of the market is no minor task.

That’s why the compact crossover received a subtle refresh late last year, sharpening its looks even further and bringing its interior technology more up to date with rivals such as the Mini Countryman and all-new Ford Puma.

Styling revisions include a more expansive and purposeful-looking front grille that more closely resembles the larger Q5, redesigned front and rear bumpers, and LED headlights that come as standard across the range. The outgoing car’s sharp angles and sculpted shut lines, which weren’t to all tastes before, remain largely unchanged.

Having driven the entry-level 1.0-litre 30 TFSI Technik back in October, it’s now time to test the more potent 1.5-litre, in step-up Sport trim and equipped with Audi’s optional S tronic seven-speed automatic transmission.

What’s it like?

With 148bhp from four turbocharged cylinders, the Q2 feels usefully quicker and more responsive under acceleration than the 1.0-litre three-pot. At 8.6sec it is almost three seconds quicker in the 0-62mph sprint, and is noticeably smoother under load.

Unfortunate, then, that the automatic transmission is so sluggish, shuffling cogs even under a light foot at consistent speed and taking its time to react when you put your foot down. It’s symptomatic of many recent VW Group models, and detracts from what should be an enjoyable driving experience. 

The newly redesigned gearlever is less awkward here simply because you’re using it less often, though given we found the Q2’s manual gearbox to be fairly accurate, we’d prefer it over the somewhat hesitant automatic.

Otherwise, the Q2 feels the same as it ever did, with plenty of front-end grip and the variable steering is calibrated in such a manner that the car feels more agile than you’d expect through the corners. Though it rarely proves engaging when you do press on, there’s a level of dynamism to be found that might prove surprising. A somewhat firm ride is the trade-off, though that evens out slightly once you get up to speed. The customisable drive modes (now standard on Sport trim cars) do little to change that, though you wouldn’t call this car uncomfortable.