DESIGNERS and engineers at Audi have achieved the seemingly impossible in the latest version of the company's top-selling SUV.
For the all-new Q5 - revealed at the Paris Motor Show - weighs in at up to 90kg lighter than its predecessor despite being longer and wider with more room both inside and in the boot.
At 4.66metres long, 1.89 metres wide and 1.66 metres tall with a 2.82-metre wheelbase the new Q5 has grown in nearly all of its dimensions.
Styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but while the looks are unmistakably Audi, the latest Q5 has, in fact, been reworked from the ground up.
Driver assistance systems - some of them optional - are comprehensive and, according to Audi represent a next step towards piloted driving. They are bundled into three driver assistance packages - Tour, Parking and Parking Advanced.
The predictive efficiency assistant helps the driver save fuel by specific information on the car's surroundings. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) including traffic jam assist can handle some of the steering work in slow-moving traffic.
Active lane assist makes it easier to stay in lane while distance warning alerts the driver when the gap to another vehicle drops below a safe distance.
Cross traffic assist rear, an exit warning system, collision avoidance assist and turn assist are other new safety features while Audi pre-sense city is a standard feature which warns of pedestrians and vehicles and may initiate automatic emergency braking. Park assist, camera-based recognition of traffic signs and hill descent assist round out the available features.
When it arrives in the UK next Spring the new Q5 will be available with a powerful 2.0 TDI diesel engine producing 190PS. Soon after the launch a revised 2.0 TFSI petrol engine will also be available followed later by an intensively revised 3.0 TDI.
The drivetrain - including the six-speed manual transmission and seven-speed S-tronic box - have been extensively redeveloped and the Q5's auto transmissions now integrate a fuel-saving freewheel function.
The latest quattro all when drive system comes with what the company calls ultra-technology which disengages the rear-axle drive whenever it is not needed and, if necessary, proactively re-engages it. The new concept boosts efficiency without reducing traction or driving dynamics, says the company.