Called the Q5, the newcomer is the smaller brother to the Q7. It enters a fresh market sector for Audi, joining other compact SUVs such as Mercedes' imminent MLK.
The new model takes inspiration from the Q7 and Cross Coupé quattro revealed at last month's Shanghai Motor Show. It features Audi's trademark front grille, distinctive LED headlights and a steeply curved roofline. Beefy wheelarches and a pumped-up stance complete the look. Inside, there will be seating for five, while the luggage area gets the same multi-rail system as fitted to the A6 Allroad, which is designed to hold smaller objects in place.
The Q5 shares its platform with the A5 coupé and next A4, and uses a development of Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system. It's likely to come with hill descent control and adjustable dampers for decent off-road ability.
A choice of diesels will be offered, including a new 204bhp 2.0-litre TDI unit, while a flagship 4.2-litre FSI V8 will be among the petrol options.
Testing of the Q5 has already begun, with heavily disguised prototypes undergoing hot weather trials in the US. The finished model will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2008.