Audi is a new addition to the Bangkok Motor Show list of exhibitors (if it was here before, we genuinely never noticed), and the premium brand’s higher profile coincides with the appointment of a new Thai distributor, Meister Technik. Owned by the prominent Lamsam family, Meister Technik takes over from German Motor Work, which never made the most out of their stewardship of the brand.

In contrast, German rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW have huge operations here, including assembly, and handle their own affairs. The situation isn’t too dissimilar from what was happening in Malaysia before Audi Malaysia was established.

The lack of an official presence hasn’t dampened appetite in our markets (just look at the amount of grey market Audis on the road), although it’s a huge mountain to climb being so late on the scene. The lack of ASEAN local assembly also means that Audis will never be as competitively priced/specced as an equivalent BMW or Mercedes.

Plenty of beautifully-styled metal on show floor to make it this writer’s coffee stop, including R8, TT and A5 coupes, but the Audi Q2 is the most relevant for us. First unveiled a year ago, the junior SUV is Audi’s entry model in Thailand and is set to arrive in Malaysia this year.

The Q2 is smaller than the Q3, which battles the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. At 4,191 mm long and 1,794 mm wide, the raised five-door hatchback is 197 mm shorter and 37 narrower than the Q3. The Q2 is available here with a 1.4 litre TFSI engine with 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 3,500 rpm. This is the same turbo four-pot used in the Malaysian-spec second-gen Volkswagen Tiguan and should provide the smaller SUV with plenty of pep. It’s mated to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto.

The yellow car seen here is the actual standard Q2 Thais can buy for an introductory price of 2.299 million baht (a hefty RM294,707), while the grey car is dressed up with 19-inch rims plus carbon effect C-pillar blades (with the four rings logo) and wing mirror caps. So, this or the Mini Countryman?