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Audi SQ2 lands in Paris with 296 horsepower, hot-hatch looks

I hope you like forbidden fruit, because this one definitely ain't comin' Stateside.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

Usually, Audi doesn't take too long after debuting a new model to trot out a higher-output S variant. However, that wasn't the case with the Q2 subcompact crossover. We had to wait quite some time following its debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show for the SQ2 to finally appear.

Even though it debuted just before the 2018 Paris Motor Show, the Audi SQ2 made its public debut at the show. Following in the footsteps of, well, every single Audi S model before it, the SQ2 bumps up the aggression by way of a more potent powertrain and some enhancements in the looks department.

It doesn't take very long to pick up on the visual changes the SQ2 brings to the table. The SQ2's grille is darker and stronger, thanks to pronounced vertical slats. The front bumper's air intakes look more aggressive and are connected with a splitter running the width of the front end. In traditional Audi S fashion, the exhaust has been swapped out for a new set o' pipes with four round tailpipes. The larger brake calipers have Audi S logos on them, too, because why not? The car sits just under an inch lower than the regular Q2, as well.

If you're familiar with how Audi tarts up its S models, the SQ2 should come as no surprise.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

The interior sports a standard combination of leather and cloth with loads of contrast stitching and -- you guessed it -- more Audi S logos. Sportier seats are standard, as is a sportier steering wheel.

The real meat 'n' potatoes of the SQ2 is under the hood, though. There, you'll find a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 gas engine. It puts out 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Power heads to all four wheels (natch) by way of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It'll shuffle its way to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds, which is pretty darn quick for a little thing like this. With the car set to its efficiency mode, the dual-clutch transmission can decouple the engine from the wheels under coasting, and the stop-start system can kick in as early as 4 mph for a smidge more fuel efficiency.

Being a new Audi, there's plenty of tech in the Q2. The infotainment screen can be as large as 8.3 inches, and Audi's Virtual Cockpit replaces the gauge cluster with a 12.3-inch configurable display. There's a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system with 14 speaker and 705 watts. On the safety front, automatic emergency braking is standard, and it can be optioned with full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and blind spot monitoring.

Sadly, the SQ2 won't be available in the US, since we don't get the regular Q2 either. But, if you happen to be moving to Europe, the SQ2 begins deliveries early next year.

2019 Audi Q3: We might not get the Q2, but we get the Q3, and the second-generation model is mighty good.

2018 Audi RS5: Why go for the mid-range performance tier? Turn the wick up to 11 with the RS5.