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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The SQ2 is a punchy little thing – in a straight line at least. We know how effective this 2.0-litre turbo is in everything from the Golf R to the Seat Leon Cupra, so that’s perhaps no surprise. But still, the way it sustains its torque and power all the way to the 6,700rpm red line is impressive. And probably largely irrelevant for the majority of your driving. In the mid-range there’s a tiny delay while the turbo picks up, but on the whole drivability and torque delivery is exemplary. It’s smooth, good-natured around town and makes the SQ2 feel significantly lighter than it actually is. Just don’t go expecting any aural fireworks. No pops on lift-off, and any induction and exhaust enthusiasm is saved for the final thousand revs.

There’s a launch control system, which most owners will probably never investigate. But they should because it’s hilarious. It holds the revs high – over 4,000rpm - and then basically dumps the clutch abruptly enough to spin all four wheels. The SQ2 belts off the line with astonishing vigour. We measured it to 60mph in 4.5secs, 100mph in 11.5secs.

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Other driver-centric features are few and far between. The Drive Select button on the console is about the only one, allowing you to switch between modes that alter the steering, engine and gearbox. Our car had Audi’s variable rack Dynamic Steering fitted. I used to find it really unpleasant to use, but it’s now much, much better. Still not sure you need it, but I’d be surprised if the standard electrically-assisted set-up supplied any feel either. The double clutch gearbox does the job with typical efficiency, but not much enthusiasm.

So here’s the thing with driving the SQ2. It takes corners confidently, body control is solid, roll progressive. It’s proficient, capable, grippy, surprising almost in how energetically it exits corners, managing traction and torque distribution well enough that understeer never really gets a look in. This is all good – it feels swift, safe and secure.

There’s an issue though. While doing this it delivers precisely no feedback or tactility at all. Not through the dull brake pedal or the light, frictionless steering. It’s efficient and effective, but barring the satisfaction of a corner swiftly, safely, securely taken, largely joyless. Remember the RS Q3? It was majorly flawed, went down the road like a wrecking ball, but was at least amusing. The SQ2 has swapped that for proficiency. It’s way more composed, but there’s no edge or interest to it at all. And for the type of people the SQ2 is aimed at, I suspect that’s a very sensible decision. It’s not going to alienate anyone by giving them sensations they might not want, involvement they’d rather not have. It’s a risk-averse car that does as little as possible to impose on the driver, all feel and drama toned down.

It drives cleanly and anonymously. It’s also refined. The bodyshell is stiff and well insulated so there’s little noise penetration, cavitation and vibration that can make harder hatches wearing on long journeys. And the confidence you get from a crossover’s extra ground clearance, the knowledge you’re not going to scrape a sump or chip a spoiler on a speed bump, is handy. The ride isn’t harsh, but you can tell Audi has struggled to find the right balance for this taller fast car between absorbency and control. Control has won. It’s stable in crosswinds, holds its line nicely, is a thoroughly excellent overtaker – overall it’s a very proficient, capable, sensible, rapid car. Just not an engaging one.

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