I have been in plenty of cars that have performed an emergency stop before – but never going backwards.

Unseen by me as I inched out of my drive and long before I had cleared the wall that blocks my view to the left, a car came racing ridiculously quickly up the close. Before I had even spotted it, the Q5 slammed on the brakes bringing the car to an instant halt.

The so-called cross traffic assist is just one of a collection of electronic systems that work quietly and without fuss to make this Audi a very safe place to be.

Small wonder the Q5 is the latest Audi to be awarded five stars by crash safety organisation Euro NCAP, its highest possible rating.

The new Q5, Audi’s best-selling sports utility vehicle worldwide, showed off its strengths in every type of test, scoring points for occupant protection, child safety and pedestrian protection. Also contributing to the SUV’s rating were the driver assistance systems that are fitted as standard – including ‘pre sense city’, an emergency braking system that reacts both to vehicles ahead of the car and to pedestrians.

But as well as being safer, the new Q5 is more comfortable, more agile, more efficient and better connected than ever before.

The £250 optional Audi virtual cockpit uses a high-resolution 12.3-inch screen allowing you to choose two views – a classic view with large round instruments or one in which the navigation map or lists dominate.

The new Q5 also has a self-learning “personal route assist” function which lets the navigation system learn the routes and destinations that you regularly select, and links the information to the parked position and time of day and uses it to suggest route planning for the next trip – even while the navigation system is inactive.

Standard equipment is even more comprehensive, with features such as the Audi smartphone interface, automatic parking system and powered tailgate operation all present right from the SE entry model. Other standard features include electronic selection of different driving modes and three-zone electronic climate control.

Add to that increased headroom and rear knee room, a quieter cabin and a slightly larger boot and you have a spacious, family-friendly five-seater vehicle which is in its element as a long-distance cruiser.

Built in Mexico, the Q5 is powered by a range of powerful engines. The 190 horsepower turbodiesel in the all-wheel-drive car driven here, is in fact the least powerful available but it produces a sporty, solid handling car that is incredibly comfortable even on twisting country roads.

Though all-wheel-drive, the new quattro drivetrain always disengages the rear-axle drive whenever it is not needed, helping efficiency without reducing traction or driving dynamics.

The strong specification is one of the factors contributing to a residual value that is not only the highest in its segment, but of any Audi model ever at its launch – over three years/30,000 miles, the test model with the 2.0-litre turbodiesel, 190 horsepower engine in S line S tronic trim is predicted to retain 58.3 per cent of its original value.

And you won’t find a safer car on the road – even when you are travelling backwards.

Auto facts

Model: Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S line

Price: £45,210 as tested

Insurance group: 29E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 55.4mpg

Top speed: 135mph

Length: 466.3cm/183.6in

Width: 189.3cm/74.5in

Luggage capacity: 19.4 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 14.3 gallons/65 litres

CO2 emissions: 133 g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles