Barely a day after BMW laid down the gauntlet with the Series 2 Gran Coupe, Audi India on Friday launched its entry-level compact SUV Q2 at Rs 34.99-Rs45.89 lakh, making it the most affordable luxury car available in the country for now.
Offered with only a two litre petrol engine after the Volkswagen Group decided to move away from diesel in the BS VI era, Audi hopes the Q2 will bring new customers to its fold and help bring back its lost glory. In 2012, Audi had launched the Q3, which was at that time the cheapest luxury car in the market at Rs 26.21 lakh and had followed it up with a stripped down corporate version -S at an even lower price of Rs 24.99 lakh. The car almost single handedly catapulted Audi to the leadership position in 2012-13. The Q2 is offered in five variants.
"The Audi Q2 is a car we are beyond thrilled to introduce to our India line-up. We've listened to customer demand and brought in the fantastic, yet practical Audi Q2 in the run up to the festive season," said Balbir Singh Dhillon, head, Audi India.
"The characterful design, plush interior and long list of features are just one part of the appeal. Having driven it extensively, I can vouch the Audi Q2 is a thrilling drive. The 190hp, 2.0-TFSI engine, progressive steering and quattro make every drive an exciting one."
Unlike the Q3 of 2012, which many felt missed out on a number of features for a luxury car, no corners have been cut in the Q2. The car gets Audi's progressive steering, quattro all-wheel drive and the patented Audi Drive Select that lets customers choose the driving experience. It has a standard boot space of 405 litres that can be expanded to 1050 litres with the rear seats folded flat. The LED ambient lighting package has 10 different colours that can be selected using the MMI display.
"Our sixth launch for the year - the Audi Q2 is another solid step in our endeavour to provide Indian customers with a wider range of choices from the Audi portfolio," Dhillon added. "This is a very important product for us as we believe it will attract new customers to the Audi family," he added.
With the Series 2, the Q2 and the Mercedes A class sedan in the offing, luxury carmakers are bringing in entry-level models with relatively lower price tag to attract more customers. The industry has stagnated in the last few years with volumes declining in the pre-COVID era of 2019 by over 13 per cent, the steepest ever in a year and for the first time since 2016 when sales declined nearly 8 per cent.
Industry sales have remained range-bound in the 35,000-40,000 unit per annum band since 2015 and is significantly lower than earlier projections of about 100,000 units by 2020. Luxury cars account for just 1 percent of overall industry in India as against 4-6 percent in other emerging markets.
"It is the responsibility of all of us in the industry together to help expand the market," Dhillon said. "If it stays at just 1 percent then we will only end up eating each other in the small pie. The need is to expand it so everybody can grow."
Times have been really tough for Audi in particular. It registered its third consecutive annual decline in 2019 as sales crashed 29 per cent at 4,594 units. For the Ingolstadt-based company, this was a significant climb-down from its performance in India between 2012-15 when it had emerged as the leader of the pack and was the first to top sales of 10,000 units in a year.
Key Features of the Audi Q2:
- 2.0-liter four-cylinder TFSI engine puts out 190 hp (140 kW) & 320 Nm of torque.
- Seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission allows quick and slick shifts.
- Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system for traction and grip.
- Four-link suspension and progressive steering for handling.
- The luggage compartment can be expanded from 405 to 1,050 liters.
- High resolution 31.24 cms, 1440 x 540-pixel TFT display.
- Audi virtual cockpit screens display detailed data with two display modes - Classic and Dynamic.
- LED Ambient lighting package offers ten colours.
- Audi smartphone interface brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Navigation, phone, music, and selected third party apps can be accessed using the MMI menu.
- Audi Phone Box offers wireless charging located at the centre console
- Audi Sound System with 10 loudspeakers including a subwoofer, and a six-channel amplifier that produces 180 watts.