I've known for a long time about the following piece of equipment, new for '05. So far, everything has been hush-hush and there has been an extreme pressure to keep it that way, aside from the teasing press leaks in order to create a little early interest. With that said, I was under the impression info this unit as well as some others would be released after 2005 arrived. But so far it's mid-January and nothing..... Now finally it's OK talk about it and there has been a heavy amount of conversation going on here that has been taunting me to talk about this new unit. So here goes........ This new unit is one of Kubota's new offerings for 2005 and it's in a category that was not discussed much here until recently. This unit I would describe as a mini-tractor. It's a little tractor that is the size of their garden tractors. For a full description picture this.... Take a heavy duty frame the size of their G-series mowers. Now for body work, an updated version of the sleek T-series styling. For comfort, add a full suspension seat. Then put on 23x10.5-12 rear tires and 16x6.5-6 front tires. Well now, so far many of you may say so what? An extra heavy duty lawn and garden tractor? Well here is where it really starts to get good. So now we have the look and ruggedness of the machine. Now let's get into performance. Take that body and mount the same diesel engine used to power Kubota's ZD21 in a low-slung position in the frame. The goodies!!! The engine is mounted low for center-of-gravity and to also facilitate all shaft drive, while being able to maintain a hump-free flat operator deck. Shaft drive to the HST rear end, mowing deck..... and get this!!! AWD......... So here we have an AWD diesel mini-tractor. Here is where it gets even better! Borrow the new 54" Performance Pro Deck which can be found on the Kubota ZG23. This commercial deck is best described and Kubota's version of John Deere's 7-Iron deck. Same shape, build and form. Heavy duty and deep. However, this deck has a better front baffle system in the deck. I found it to be a stellar side discharge performer on the ZG23. So now we have an all shaft drive AWD mini-tractor with a commercial diesel engine borrowed from the ZD21 and a deep 54" commercial duty shaft drive deck borrowed from the ZG23. Now it gets even better, even more creature comforts. It has the same HST drive control peddle as the BX series tractors. Hydro everything.... deck/implement lift with dial-a-height cutting adjustment and power steering, as well as hydraulic PTO's / hydraulic wet type multi disc PTO clutch. Impressive, but actually I haven't even gotten to the hot ticket items yet. It's the total drive system package that is truly innovative and revolutionary. What's awesome about this is that BOTH front tires are able to turn an incredible 70 degrees in both directions. Wow! wanna talk about a sharp turning radius!!! But now everyone knows what comes along with sharp turning... Turf tears front the rear tires twisting or spinning while pushing against the sharply turned tires. Skid marks from when the front tires just skid instead of turning because they aren't getting bite and the rear is pushing them along. Last but not least, there is the turf tearing from the front tires of an AWD/4WD machine when trying to turn while the front drive is engaged. But remember, I only said the awesome part was 70 degree front steering. The innovative and revolutionary part is yet to come. Kubota has addressed all the issues with their new drive system. Kubota named the solution 'Glide Steer"..... Without getting into the technical specifics, here is how the drive system works in a nutshell. As you are running along in AWD and you decide to turn sharp, since the front can turn 70 degress, something has got to give. It turns so sharp that the inside rear tire would tear the turf if something wasn't done. So what happens is, once you start to turn, let's say hard left, as you steer into the turn, the Glide Steer system begins to variably limit the left rear tire traction in the same ratio as you are turning the steering wheel. This is variable until the cut-off point where the tire would cause turf damage. Once you enter this steering angle it's turning so sharply that the left rear wheel must become fully disengaged and able to roll freely. Wow!!! Now where this gets even better is in effect, the limited traction thru disengagement actually kills multiple birds with one stone on an AWD system. What happens is that you have maximum AWD positive traction at all times until you reach a turning point where it becomes a problem. Ever try turning a tractor with the Dif-Lock engaged? Anywho... the Glide Steer system creates a seamless controled traction transition. In doing so it also eliminates front wheel turf tears from AWD/4WD. How it does this is that the drive transitions to a point where the front tires are pulling the machine hard left and the right rear tire is helping in that effort because it's on the outside of the turning arc helping without any aid from the left rear. So the machine is pulling itself in the turning direction as opposed to conventional AWD/4WD which works in a push-tug-twist fashion at times. All in all it seems to be one heck of a package. One that I'm certainly interested in, even if many others might not be. I've been waiting on a unit like this to come out for a long time. I will follow this with more pictures.