Audi RS Q8 review
The uber-fast yet uber-comfortable Audi RS Q8 is the most expensive RS model Audi builds, but the price of some optional extras is still pretty eye-watering.
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Forget the Audi RS6 and RS7 – if you want the most expensive car Audi’s RS division makes, you should check out the RS Q8. Yes, it’s a massive, practical, comfortable SUV, but it’s also ridiculously fast and good fun to drive.
This all comes as no surprise given the way it looks. Aggressive? It’s like The Undertaker on wheels. That huge grille looks big enough to hoover up a few hatchbacks without a second thought and if you thought 22-inch wheels were big, check out the RS Q8’s optional 23-inch rims.
The oversized details don’t stop there. The RS Q8’s backside comes with plenty of contrasting black details and a set of gigantic oval exhaust pipes – an RS-model signature. These lead to the RS Q8’s party piece – its engine. It’s a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 that’s shared with the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga. In the Audi, it produces 600hp and a whopping 800Nm of torque. All this helped the RS Q8 scoop the Best Sporty SUV award in the 2021 carwow Car of the Year Awards.
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 see more than 25mpg.
But do you really care about fuel economy in a super-SUV such as this? Probably not. More exciting is the fact it’ll sprint from 0-62mph in around 3.8 seconds, which is quicker than a Porsche 911 Carrera. Keep going and the RS Q8 cracks 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 190mph.
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 RS Q8’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 and help it tackle tight turns better than you’d ever expect from a massive SUV. Its automatic gearbox doesn’t respond quite as quickly as the lightning-fast shifts in a BMW X6M Competition, though, and the optional sport rear differential comes as part of a costly optional pack.
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It isn’t just good at aping a hot-hatch on twisty country roads – it’s impressively manoeuvrable in town, too. All-wheel steering means the huge Audi RS Q8 can cope with tight U-turns far better than most massive SUVs and its clever air suspension does a better job ironing out bumps and potholes than an X6M Competition when you’re cruising around.
There’s plenty more about the Audi RS Q8 that makes it relaxing to travel in. The standard sport seats are lovely and supportive and the optional RS sports seats come with the added bonus of heating and ventilation functions.
The Audi RS Q8’s cabin is a nice blend of sporty details and minimalist design, but you can shift the balance towards the racy end of the spectrum with the RS Design Pack. This adds extra contrasting stitching and some suede-like Alcantara trim for the steering wheel and gear selector.
Even the infotainment gets the RS treatment. Its graphics correctly illustrate the car, there’s a new horizontal rev-counter like in the RS6 and you get some unique gauges measuring things like tyre temperature and G forces.
Thankfully, the things you probably will use every day are a doddle to get used to. The sat-nav is easy to program, you can connect your phone using Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and the screen’s haptic feedback makes it pretty easy to adjust the heating and ventilation settings while you’re driving. Although conventional knobs and dials would make this easier still.
The Audi RS Q8’s back seats are just as spacious as in the standard Q8, and they come with a slightly more supportive design that mimics those in the front. The boot’s completely unchanged, though. So you’ll be able to carry the same 605 litres of luggage in the RS Q8 as you can in the standard car, which is slightly less than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo can manage.
So, the Audi RS Q8 isn’t just ludicrously fast for a mammoth SUV, it’s also impressively practical and easy to live with. If you’re looking for a car that can do all of this, and you have more than £100,000 to spend, the Audi RS Q8 certainly deserves a place on your shortlist.
Head over to our Audi RS Q8 deals page to compare the latest offers on this super-fast SUV.