Audi RS Q8 revealed in LA
This is the Audi RS Q8 – Audi’s new super-fast SUV – and here are the carwow top 10 things you need to know about it.
Audi RS Q8
Price and release date
£110,000; mid 2020
At the heart of the Audi RS Q8 is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, which is the same engine as in the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga. In the Audi it produces 600hp and a whopping 800Nm of torque. It does have a sensible side, though. At a cruise, it can revert to four cylinders to save fuel and its 48V power supply helps do the same, regenerating energy when coasting on the motorway and under braking. Nevertheless, you’ll still be lucky to get more than 25mpg on a run.
You only have to look at the Audi RS Q8 to know it’s the extrovert of the Audi SUV range. From its honeycomb grille to its blistered wheel arches and huge RS-specific oval exhaust pipes, everything about this Q8 screams performance. And if you visit the options list you can swap the standard 22-inch alloy wheels for 23-inch items and add aluminium or carbon fibre trim pieces.
The chunky Audi RS Q8 gets from 0-60 in just 3.8 seconds – nearly half a second quicker than a svelte Porsche 992 Carrera sports car. Keep going and the RS Q8 nails 125mph in 13.7 seconds on the way to its limited top speed of 155mph. That said, send some cash Audi’s way for the optional dynamic package and that limit can be lifted to one hundred and ninety miles per hour.
The RS Q8 gets quattro four-wheel drive as standard and it sends 60% of the Audi’s 600hp to the back to make the car feel more like a rear-wheel-drive car in the bends. If slip is detected, up to 70% of power can be sent to the front wheels to drag you out of corners. Want even more grip? Then you’ll want the optional rear sports differential that locks up the back wheels to give you maximum traction out of bends.
The RS Q8 gets comfy air suspension as standard but if you want to drive it as its maker intended, you’ll want to upgrade to the optional electromechanical active roll stabilisation system. On bumpy roads it can decouple the Audi’s anti-roll bars to give you a butter-smooth ride. In bends though, the opposite happens, the roll bars stay linked and small electric motors counteract the cornering forces going through the car. The result? Rolls is significantly reduced leaving the Audi spirit-level flat.
All-wheel steering means the huge Audi RS Q8 is much better at tight manoeuvres than you’d ever think. In town, it turns the back wheels in the opposite direction to the front to swing the rear end around tight corners. At higher speeds, though, it does the opposite, turning the back wheels in the same direction as the fronts – virtually shortening the wheelbase, making the lumbering Audi feel more like a slightly porky hot hatch.
Inside, the RS Q8 gets sports seats as standard and they can be upgraded to RS-seats that are finished in soft Valcona leather and also heated and cooled. The RS Design packs, meanwhile, finish the interior in red or grey contrast stitching, while the steering wheel and gear gaiter are covered in Alcantara. Even the infotainment gets the RS treatment. Its graphics correctly illustrate the car and add unique gauges measuring things like tyre temps and G forces which… you’ll never, ever use.
Behind the RS Q8’s humongous wheels, you’ll find a set of equally impressive brake discs, with a 16.5-inch diameter up front and a 14.6 inch diameter at the rear. If you want even more stopping power, with brakes that can resist fade even after multiple hard stops, then you’ll need the optional ceramic discs which have a 17.3 and 14.6-inch diameter, respectively and come with massive 10-piston calipers up front finished in either black or red.
The RS Q8 comes as standard with RS Matrix LED headlights, they have multiple LEDs that are controlled individually. When another car is detected by a camera in the windscreen, the corresponding LED is switched off casting a shadow over the car while everything around it remains fully illuminated by the full beams. Scrolling indicators that move in the direction you’re turning are also fitted, but the pièce de résistance is the little dance the lights perform every time you lock and unlock the Audi.
You’ll not be surprised to hear you’ll need at least £110,000 to get your hands on an RS Q8. And that’s just a baseline figure: Have yourself a fancy paint job, the bigger wheels, upgrade the brakes and suspension, and get the heated and cooled sports seats and you’ll be looking at a figure closer to £130,000.