Interview with Matthias Fink, Exterior Design, and Jens Kosyna, Technical Project Leader Audi Q2
Hello Jens, hello Matthias, when you stand in front of the finished car now – are you satisfied?
Or would you, with hindsight, like to change anything?
Jens Kosyna: Nothing springs to mind. The Q2 is the result of an intense cooperation between Technical Development and Design. It was a project where we came up with a lot of good solutions.
Matthias Fink: When I see the car in front of me now ‘in the metal’, I’m simply happy. I like how compact the Q2 looks – with its broad shoulders and short overhangs.
Jens Kosyna: We went to the limits of what was feasible there – after all, the front end still has to accommodate cooling and crash structures. We also matched the rear overhang perfectly with the design.
Which brings us right away to the matter of technology and design.
What kind of vehicle character has emerged from both of these?
Matthias Fink: The Q2 has a powerful, edgy, slightly rough stance. It’s not exactly a track athlete, more of a youthful, crossfit type. Its low, coupe-like cabin gives our most compact SUV very sporty overall proportions. At the same time, its robust and solid torso and the dedicated offroad protection on the sills and around the wheel arches add to its very strong SUV character.
Jens Kosyna: We’re using the shortest wheelbase available in the platform for the Q2. It’s just 2,595 millimeters long, and we have extracted a lot of interior space from it. The cd figure is 0.30. A compact SUV presents a major aerodynamic challenge – we’ve made the Q2 as long as we possibly could.
How did aerodynamics and design come together?
Matthias Fink: We thought about how we could make the aerodynamics visible. Some of the aerodynamic elements also have plenty of design potential. It starts right at the front of the car. The outer contours of the air intakes on the ‘design’ and ‘sport’ lines and on the ‘S-line’, too, have a strong vertical emphasis and do more than just look like airfoils.
Jens Kosyna: The key area for the Audi Q2’s cd figure is the rear end – where the airflow separates. The roofline drops down early, the rear windshield is at a very shallow angle and the low greenhouse pulls inward like a teardrop…
Matthias Fink: … which makes the bodywork look even wider from the rear. While the roof, with its flat rear window and long spoiler, makes the car look low. The underride guard in the ‘design’ and ‘sport’ lines as well as the diffusor in the ‘S-line’ run quite high up, and together make the rear look extremely wide.
Jens Kosyna: Another important factor is the very long roof spoiler with its triangular aero corners. It works in close collaboration with the aerodynamically shaped rear lights and the blades on the C-pillars. The gently formed blade creates the ideal finish – a cool idea that came from Design, by the way…
Matthias Fink: The visual effect of the blade is to reduce the height above the wheel and make the C-pillar appear wider than it is high. The Q2 looks very coupe-like from the side – wedge-shaped and crouching. The shoulder line divides beneath the side windows and forms a hexagonal surface – as if it was cut from solid with a sharp tool. This solution generates distinct three-dimensionality and, above all, pulls the shoulder line downward in this area, while it stays up over the wheels. The whole cabin appears to be pressed between the wheels. It looks like a football player with his head seemingly wedged between strong, protective shoulders…
…and it hints at the quattro drive, too.
Matthias Fink: This theme at the side of the body separates the car into three distinct parts: front wheel arches – torso, waistline – rear wheel arches. The sharp-edged design of the Q2 and its clear emphasis on all four wheels is an obvious homage to our quattro history… reinterpreted. Instead of adding on the “quattro bulges”, we modeled them into the side by pulling in the shape at the waist. In addition, we framed the wheel arches with wide wheel reflectors, which emphasize the wheels and the quattro drive. This effect has an escpecially powerful impact on the lines when paired with wheel-arch trim and sill strips in a contrasting color. The equator, the dividing line between the bodyshell structure and the add-on parts, is very high on the Q2 – and a classic SUV visual.
What are the largest wheels available for the Q2?
Jens Kosyna: 19-inch. The modular transverse platform (MQB) on which the car is based is extremely flexible, but it obviously sets certain limits. These are defined by aspects such as weight, turning circle, suspension and the spacing of the longitudinal beams.
The sharp double shoulder line is surely not easy to produce…
Jens Kosyna: It’s very complex, particularly in the areas where it separates – and it presented quite a challenge for Production. When facing new challenges like this, we can fully rely on Audi Toolmaking, meaning we were able to put a lot of hard work into the quality.
Where else did you face similar challenges?
Jens Kosyna: The area in front of the hexagon is also pretty intense – where the A-pillar, fender, hood and door come together. The lines of the hood, shoulder and door shutline all have to run exactly right. And obviously, there can’t be any problems opening the hood in winter or during painting. The extreme precision we’ve achieved here is a design signature of the Audi brand.
How did the concept of the polygon and the hard edges come into being in the first place?
Matthias Fink: The polygon was a basic idea of mine four years ago. I tried to draw a lean bodyshell and still give the fenders their maximum width. That’s why I cut away everything that was “unnecessary” between the wheel arches, which led to the edgy look. Between the edges, we then stretched the soft, beautifully formed surfaces that are such a feature of our brand. The Q2 is entirely different from the familiar Audi models, but nevertheless pure Audi!
Where else can we find the six-sided polygon?
Matthias Fink: In many places. For example in the sharp-edged shape of the taillights, on the sills, which likewise highlight the wheels through faceting, or in the front grille, which is made up of many small polygons and dispenses with the conventional horizontal blades. And to a certain extent, we can also find it in the Singleframe itself. Chamfered corners at the bottom make it an octagon. This visually lifts the Singleframe and takes it further away from the road – a real Q look.
Was the styling concept ever questioned during the design process?
Matthias Fink: The first time we translated the original sketches into models it was clear to us that the design would be very geometric and edgy. We thought for a while about softening one of the edges, but realized the car would lose a lot of its character if we did that. So we stuck to the original concept – with all its corners and edges.