Little Yet Mighty: SQ2 Destroys AMG GLA 35 on Wet Quarter-Mile


Despite running on a less-than-ideal surface, SQ2 lays the smack down on Stuttgart off the line, nearly takes it all against tiny AMG.

The smallest Audi crossover we can buy in the United States is the Q3. Alas, there’s no SQ3 or even an RS Q3 for those who want big power in a small package, though the S line does crank the power on the 2.0-liter turbo-four to 228 ponies and 258 lb-ft of torque. Perhaps one day, Audi will offer an SQ3 or RS Q3 for us on this side of the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, other parts of the world receive a smaller crossover, dubbed the Q2. They also receive a hotter version called the SQ2. And today, Motor‘s Alex Inwood and Scott Newman pit the mighty mite against Mercedes-AMG’s own tiny terror, the AMG GLA 35, upon a very wet quarter-mile in New South Wales, Australia.

2021 Audi SQ2

“Today’s Motor drag battle is going to be wet,” said Inwood. “But what you want in soggy conditions like these is a two-liter turbo and all-wheel drive. Exactly what these two have. Question is: which of them is quickest?”

The Audi SQ2 packs 296 horses and 295 lb-ft of torque in its small frame, compared to the AMG’s 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The AMG has one more gear, and more heft at 3,488 pounds versus the Audi’s seven-speed auto and 3,384 pounds. The biggest difference, though, is on price: around $62,000 USD for the AMG, around $47,000 USD for the Audi. Let’s see how these two fare going up the quarter-mile from the other end.

2021 Audi SQ2

“Activating launch control in the SQ2 is a bit of a process,” said Inwood. “Get the car into Drive, put the gearbox into Sport, turn off the stop-start system, put the traction control into Sport […] Then, left foot on the brake, right foot on the throttle, and we should be okay. I hope.”

Despite the complicated procedure, which also requires the steering wheel to be pointed perfectly straight, as well as a warm powertrain, the Audi kills the AMG off the first run by two car lengths. Under a normal street start, the little guy from Ingolstadt does it again, soundly defeating Stuttgart’s champion by five car lengths. However, there’s still a roll to conquer, this time from the proper end of the quarter-mile.

2021 Audi SQ2

“It was fairly steady,” said Newman. “And then, that last 50 meters or so or whatever, 100 meters, bang! Suddenly, it was really starting accelerating forward. I was getting nervous.”

Though Newman’s AMG did win the roll, Inwood and his Audi would’ve taken it with a few more feet. Overall, the SQ2 not only delivers the goods, it does so at a lower price point than the AMG. We can only wonder why anyone would spend some $20,000 on a heavier crossover.

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Cameron Aubernon

Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

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