This is the Audi Q5, the company’s long-awaited rival for the BMW X3 and Land Rover Freelander. Unveiled at the Beijing motor show today, the Q5 is one of a blitz of new Audi models due over the next four years. It will arrive in the UK at the very end of 2008, priced from just under £30,000.Audi is pitching the five-seat Q5 as the sportiest SUV in its class and it will be available with three engines, one petrol and two diesels. The firm’s quattro all-wheel drive system will be standard on all models. Climate control is also standard, and the list of optional extras is long.Based on the same MLP modular chassis as the A4 and A5, the Q5 is a handy 4.6m long and just 1.65m high. As these pictures show, it’s a more compact and modest machine than the bombastic Q7, a timely move by Audi considering the environmental pressure currently being applied to SUVs.The Q5 styling is neat but less aggressive than the Q7, although the treatment of the aluminium tailgate (the bonnet is also aluminium) is original. Audi says the Q5 has a creditable Cd of 0.33 and that the car has the longest wheelbase (2.8m) in its class.Audi expects to sell around 8000 Q5s in the UK every year, but the car will be pitched closer in price to the X3 than the cheaper Freelander; the entry-level Audi will cost just under £30,000. It is expected to be powered by the 170bhp, 2.0 TDI, common-rail turbodiesel, which delivers 258lb ft of torque from 1750rpm. That should be good for 35mpg and a 0-62mph dash in 9.5sec.The range-topping engine is the 240bhp, 3.0-litre, V6 TDI which, thanks to a hefty 368lb ft of torque from 1500rpm, allows the Q5 to reach 62mph in just 6.5sec and still return an average 30.5mpg.The only petrol variant at launch is the new four-cylinder, 211bhp, 2.0 TFSI engine. The unit gets direct injection and Audi’s own variable valve-lift system. According to the company this model offers a 7.2sec 0-62mph sprint and an average of 27.7mpg.While the 2.0 TDI gets a six-speed manual transmission the petrol and V6 diesel engines are hooked up to Audi’s new seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, which it calls S-Tronic. This unit has been specifically engineered for Audi’s longitudinally mounted drivetrains and it will be rolled out on other models soon.The permanent quattro four-wheel drive system is set up to transfer 60 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels on normal roads. However, in extreme conditions it can switch up to 65 per cent of the power to front wheels and 85 per cent to the rear. The five-link front axle and ‘trapezoidal-link’ rear are made primarily from aluminium. The standard wheels will be 17in alloys, but up to 20in units will be available as options.Two ‘body packages’ will be available. S line gives the Q5 a more sporting look, while the ‘off-road’ package equips the car with front and rear underbody protection. Audi claims decent off-road prowess for the car, with a climbing capability of 31 degrees and an ability to wade in up to 20in of water.Audi says the Q5’s ESP and ABS system have specific settings for off-road driving. The ESP can also communicate with the Q5’s roof rack, so when a heavy load is being carried the ESP will engage earlier than normal.Inside the Q5 gets adjustable-angle rear seats, which can also be dropped via a lever in the 540-litre boot. Options include a sliding rear seat and a fold-forward front passenger seat for long loads.Options include adaptive dampers and ‘dynamic steering’, which adjusts the steering ratio and level of assistance. Also on the list are a lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, a rear-view parking camera, a panoramic sunroof and even a heated and ventilated drinks holder.