Why I finally felt so at home at launch of new Audi Q2 SUV
- Credit: Andy Russell
Blog: After years of long hauls to new model launches Audi finally launched its new Q2 compact premium sport utility vehicle on motor editor Andy Russell's doorstep.
I had a real treat this week with a car launch that came to me... for a change.
Launches tend to be made convenient for the masses of motoring journalists so are often in the south of England, is easy for London and major airports with car-makers flying journalists in, the Cotswolds, Yorkshire or Scotland.
Living in the east of East Anglia, that means a drive of up to five hours after work, arriving at the venue in time to go to bed, waking up, driving the car during the day and then five hours home again, often in time to go back to bed.
For this week's launch I worked a full day at our Ipswich office, battled out of town in the rush-hour and still arrived 55 minutes later. The following afternoon I drove back to our Norwich office in 40 minutes.
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For more than quarter of a century I have been banging on to car-makers about the delights of Norfolk and Suffolk – beautiful countryside, some great driving roads and wonderful places to stay, only to be told it is a long way to travel for many people. Surely, motoring journalists don't mind driving!
Finally, this week, my prayers were answered when Audi came to north Suffolk to launch its all-new Q2 premium compact sport utility vehicle – you can read my review next week to find out more about it – with a couple of driving routes that showed off my homeland in its best light.
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Jon Zammett, head of Audi UK PR, told the assembled journalists it was Audi's most easterly launch ever.
And, looking at me, added: 'For those who live nearby it is like manna from heaven.'
Based at Wilderness Reserve – a manor house and collection of luxury cottages – at Sibton, near Halesworth, and one of the area's best-kept secrets, the two-hour test route took journalists up into Norfolk to Attleborough, on to Thetford and then meandering back along the Norfolk and Suffolk border.
I chose the one-hour route which summed up everything that was good about that area of Suffolk. Bathed in glorious autumn sunshine, it took in Snape, Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Framlingham and some new roads I'll definitely be revisiting.
And it left my fellow motoring hacks raving about what a wonderful part of the country it was – for some it was the first time they had ventured into that part of the world away from motorways.
I always say good roads, spectacular scenery and amiable company show the car off in the best light so expect big things of this new compact Audi when it is launched in dealerships next weekend.
And, without seeming selfish, I hope Audi will set the trend for other car-makers to come to God's country if they want their new model to be appreciated to the full.