The first thing I notice on walking into the Audi showroom located at Club Road, Karachi is the visit experience itself.
It’s plush, complete with a guide wearing white gloves and cold towels offered to freshen up. I guess it makes sense given that buying a car is not an easy decision. Especially a German car that has a long list of add-ons to choose from.
Before I jump to the test drive, let's analyse its entry into Pakistan.
The Audi Q2 is the newest crossover between an SUV and a hatchback from Audi. It is the latest segment of crossovers that automakers have found to be quite popular within the urban demographic because they’re not as big as a conventional SUV or a station wagon, but offer a similar experience without taking up multiple lanes on the road and requiring a dozen mirrors to navigate city traffic.
Pakistan has only been recently exposed to crossovers. BMW X1, Honda Vezel, Toyota CH-R, Honda Atlas BR-V and the Audi Q2 are the top crossovers right now as far as I know. All of these are great cars to be in, and come for almost the same price so the market is quite competitive.
So is the Q2 right for you?
The standard version is priced at Rs 4,600,000, and the exclusive version (with add-ons) is for Rs 5,150,000. The equipment in the standard line can be viewed here. You can also check out the add-on options in the exclusive version.
A lot of people here still consider smaller engine displacement size i.e. 1000cc, 660cc, etc as too small, but are they really?
Ford’s latest supercar ‘GT’ comes with 3500cc turbo-charged engine that produces a staggering 647 HP. Mclaren P1’s 3.8L engine churns 727 HP. Apples and oranges, yes, but if those cars are producing that much power from engines of that size then you have got to consider the fact that size isn't probably everything. One liter is more than enough for a car that’s built for the urban environment, or mainly a daily driver.
The engines of yesteryear with their big crates are a thing long gone. Today, climate change is dictating the future of the cars, and until the infrastructure and technology isn’t in place for alternatively powered vehicles, engines will keep getting smaller.
So make no mistake, the Q2 has enough torque and HP to get you from 0-100 KM/H in just 10.1 seconds. Keep in mind, engines make low HP at lower RPMs - even the big HP engines. Audi Q2 produces 116 HP @ 5,500 RPM while the 200 nm. of torque is available at 2,000-3,500 RPM which is great for the city.
As I said earlier, Germans make the most profit on their cars through offering many add-ons. A report from earlier this year said that Porsche makes on an average, US $17,000 in profit per car and that is mainly through ordering options because no one buys a base Porsche; just a natural leather seat option is an additional US $5,000 so go figure.
However, in the Q2’s case, Audi has made many important add-ons as standard. Personally, the only addition I would make would be the panoramic roof.
During my first drive of the Q2, I noted that:
The 17-inch standard wheels provide decent grip/road control that doesn’t make you feel on the edge of your tyre’s road grip.
It definitely feels ‘big’ when you’re driving it, just not Land Cruiser big. Even though newer Audis in their grey colors are able to disappear within traffic, this one stands out with its enormous front and dynamic exterior. It's already a large car and feels even bigger when you're in bumper to bumper or worse, door-touching-door traffic.
The torque availability at lower RPMs gets you moving real quick. I personally didn’t feel any lack of power though I wanted to test its power on different RPM ranges but didn't get the chance.
Regardless of which color you buy it in, this car is bound to turn heads.
Side note: it is unfortunate that despite Audi having many beautiful and lively colors on offer, many buyers are opting for white and grey. This is apparently to blend in and also ensure its resale value, which is quite good if we’re to believe the Audi Pakistan spokesperson.
Today, technology is enabling companies to target the exact demographic for specific car forms. Companies are now building cars for a more targeted requirement rather than producing a sedan for a broad range of users and calling it a day.
A Crossover SUV like the Audi Q2 is a vehicle that a lot of people may not know they want. Audi aims the Q2 toward the younger, hip crowd of first time luxury car buyers.
But if you ask me, most of Pakistan will be first time luxury car buyers as Germans make their cars more affordable. People looking for a car that's not small like a hatchback, yet feels compact and drives like an SUV, would be the ideal buyers of the Q2.
All photos by the author.