If outright performance is your aim, the Q30 that snaps to 62mph in the quickest time is the 2-litre Sport with its standard dual-clutch transmission, and front-, rather than all-wheel drive. It completes the sprint in 7.2sec, while its all-wheel driven counterpart takes just a tenth longer. Neither is as quick as the most mechanically-similar Mercedes-Benz A-class, the A250 AMG, which reaches the 62mph mark in 6.3sec. That's despite the pair weighing in at similar amounts (the Q30 2.0t Sport is 1427kg), though the Mercedes does have a little more power.
What's clear is that there's no truly rapid Q30 – certainly no AMG A45 equivalent - and even that 2-litre can feel sluggish. The normal gearchange mode of the DCT dulls throttle response and results in early up-changes that futher hold back progress. Like the equivalent Mercedes, you can push a button to activate a Sport program, which livens things up. This is undoubtedly preferable, but it's a shame you can't pair the sharper throttle response with earlier gearchanges for normal driving – Sport mode hangs onto lower gears for much longer which harms refinement and economy.
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The ideal option is to use the paddles mounted on the back of the steering wheel for manual changes - but since the Q30 isn't a particularly sporty car in the first place, we can't see many buyers defaulting to this mode. There's not much satisfaction to it either – shifts are smooth, but not the snappiest.
We're yet to try out the other Q30 engines but of the remaining options it's the 2.2 diesel that's quickest, with an 8.3sec 0-62mph time and a 137mph top speed. Given that even the 2-litre petrol can feel sluggish, we'd not expect much from the 1.6t (9.4sec to 62mph with the manual 'box) or the 1.5d (a whole 12 seconds over the 0-62mph sprint). Since manual models use the Merc's six-speed gearbox, we know it's not the most tactile of shifts either.