It has not even hit the market, but it has already won an award: "Bild am Sonntag" named the new Audi Q5 the best vehicle in this year's special SUV class, awarding it the "Golden Steering Wheel".

The Audi Q5 won out over strong competition and, in the process, repeated the Audi A4's success last year.

Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, accepted the prize – one of the most prestigious accolades in the automotive industry – in Berlin on Wednesday. "This is a tremendous success for both the new Q5 and the Audi brand. To me, it is also an acknowledgment of the great performance of our highly motivated and committed team," said Stadler during the awards ceremony. "Our Golden Steering Wheel also proves to me that this car is apparently not only close to my heart; it also convinced the jury."

Members of the "Golden Steering Wheel" jury, consisting of VIPs, technical experts, and racing and rally pros, got another chance to put test candidates through their paces this year.

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The Audi Q5 was able to win them over not only through its seat comfort and space, but also handling and variability. It also ranked high in the interior and exterior design disciplines. The technicians among the jury had particular praise for the new performance SUV's ease of repair and environmental friendliness.

The new Audi Q5 combines the dynamism of a sports sedan with a highly flexible interior and a wide range of options for leisure and family. Three powerful, efficient engines, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and agile suspension form the basis of an impressive technological package for on-road and off-road use. The innovative S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and the Audi drive select handling system are among its other highlights. It will be launched on November 14.

The "Golden Steering Wheel" has been awarded since 1975 to the best new cars of the year. The award for the Audi Q5 is already the 17th victory in 33 years for a vehicle bearing the four rings, making Audi the most successful competing brand. Other winners of the "Golden Steering Wheel" are the Audi A6 in 2004, the Audi Q7 a year later and the Audi A4 sedan last year.