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Audi has a long history with technological innovation. In 1918, it starting building cars with aluminium, rather than steel frames. In 1932, Audi introduced mid-engine cars to Formula 1 racing. It put the first in-line 5 cylinder petrol engine into a production car in the late 70s, and in 1989, the first diesel TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection) engine went on sale.

It’s no surprise then that you’ll find plenty of innovation in Audi’s latest model, the Q2. The Q2 can best be described as a ‘urban adventure vehicle’ and fits into the compact SUV category. It’s a bit smaller than the Q3, which itself is due for a refresh, and has a distinctive coupe-like roofline, narrow windows and a wide, sturdy stance. It’s 4.19 meters long, 1.5 meters tall and has 147mm ground clearance.

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While mainly a city-focused vehicle, the Q2 is perfectly comfortable on winding country roads, with a dirt track or two thrown in for good measure – and we tested just that on our recent day with the Q2 in Victoria.

Distinctive design

The first thing you’ll notice about the Q2 is its looks. Featuring a polygonal-referenced design, with sculpted flanks and large wheel arches, the Q2 somehow looks larger than it actually is. While opinions will vary, the Q2’s exterior design really needs to be seen in the metal, and it comes together nicely, especially with the optional 18-inch wheels.

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Inside, the polygonal theme continues, which is both clutter-free and stylish. You’ll find high-quality surfaces and materials, machined metal switchgear, and some clever lighting touches like the illuminated thigh-rest and glove box strips, with 10 different lighting colour choices. There are two different trim lines to choose from, complete with colour matched upholstery and inlays.

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There’s a practical side too, with room for 5, and reasonable legroom at the back, 405 litres of luggage space that increases to 1050 litres with the rear seats folded down. All up, it’s still a compact, but comfortable for 4 people and a few bags at least.

Big on tech

One of the biggest benefits of the Q2 is that it gets the technologies featured in more expensive Audi models. This means that with the combination of standard kit and option packs, you’ll be spoiled for choice for information, entertainment, connectivity, safety and driver assistance systems.

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Starting with information is Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, the pinnacle of digital dashboards. This is a 12.3 inch screen that takes the place of all your traditional gauges and sits front and centre beneath the steering wheel. It is customisable, so you can have a variety of different layouts ranging from the  ‘classic’ view with large speed and RPM dials and all sorts of information in between, to glorious full-screen maps.

Our favourite is to set the full screen map to Google Earth satellite view. This creates a sort of bird’s eye view, complete with superimposed roads and points of interest. It’s almost like you’re there before you arrive.

The Virtual Cockpit screen is protected from shadows and glair so it’s always easy to see, and there are separate LED guages for petrol and oil temperature on the lower left and right edges. On-screen graphics and details are pin-sharp with a 1440 x 540 pixel resolution. Map scrolling and rotational movement is smooth and fluid thanks to the powerful NVIDIA Tegra 30 processor that Audi has chosen for the task.