With the Beijing show starting next week, spy photographers in Germany have caught the most revealing prototype yet. With the front and rear ends still subtly covered with plastic cladding, design details in the hood and side body are in clear view.

Several magazines, including ourselves were given a drop kick to the head by Audi as we previously reported the A5 debut at Los Angeles last year. Then the mid-size BMW X3, Land Rover Freelander and Mercedes GLK competitor was reported to debut at Geneva last month, but much to our disappointment, it was held back by Audi in favor of the Q7 V12 TDI. Then, it was reported last month that the elusive Q5 would finally make its global introduction in Beijing.

With the Beijing show starting in just three days, spy photographers in Germany have caught the most revealing prototype yet. With the front and rear ends still subtly covered with plastic cladding, design details in the hood and side body are in clear view.

Expected to be equipped with VW's new 7-speed DSG transmission plus entry level FSI petrol and diesel engines, the Q5 is based on Audi's new MLP architecture which also serves as the foundation for the new A5 and A4.

The Audi Q5 is on schedule with production starting at Ingolstadt before summer. The Q5 will then see its European release towards the end of this year as a 2009 model year. However, U.S. debut is pushed back almost one year with its public debut in Detroit 2009.

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