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Audi’s Hot Little SQ2 Is Rolling Out in Europe

It packs a 296-hp punch in a pint-sized package.

Whatever obstacles the company may be facing, there's no denying Audi makes some compelling vehicles for both America and abroad. Once such car for overseas markets is the hot SQ2, the performance version of the wee Q2 crossover. Rekindling our desire for the pint-size powerhouse is the announcement of its market launch in the U.K. It's priced there at £36,800, or about $48,500 at current exchange rates. (A perhaps better comparison than straight conversion is to look at the cost of other models; in this case, it's about 10 percent cheaper than the basic Q5 in the U.K.)

Unveiled officially late last year, the little CUV packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive, and it can get the SQ2 from zero to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds and to a top speed of 155 mph.

As part of its performance makeover, the SQ2 gets a new front bumper with a splitter and a black grille flanked by air inlets. There's also plenty of SQ2 badging, a C-pillar blade finished in matte titanium gray, aluminum side-mirror caps, a silver rear diffuser, dual tailpipes, and a spoiler perched atop the hatch.

The standard 18-inch wheels are shod with 235/40-section tires and hide brake calipers painted black with S logos. Options include red painted calipers and 19-inch wheels in gloss white or anthracite black. The S sport suspension lowers the vehicle by 0.8 inch, and Audi says the SQ2 offers the same interior space as other Q2 variants and also offers a spilt-folding rear seat.

Inside, there's a flat-bottom steering wheel, leather and Alcantara upholstery and trim, LED lighting, and red-accented air vents. Sadly, Audi still has no plans to bring the SQ2 stateside, but we can still dream, right?